Around 1.5 million people have stumbled upon child pornography while using the internet, a survey has found. But the study suggested that 40 per cent would not know how to go about reporting it, if they did see it online.
Child porn was the biggest concern for people when considering a range of illegal and harmful content online, with terrorist websites and extreme or violent pornography coming closely behind on the survey conducted by the Internet Watch Foundation.
“What is concerning for us is that not enough people know how to report this or would rather ignore it, especially considering the survey tells us that around 1.5 million British adults have seen this sort of content online,” said IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves.
She added: “There is clear public concern over the availability of images and videos of children being sexually abused on the internet. Although we’ve seen record removal times in the UK, during 2012 we saw a higher proportion of images of children under 10 years old being sexually abused.”
The survey found only 73 UK websites last year which were hosting child sexual abuse images or videos, compared with 9,477 hosted in other countries around the world. Around half were removed within 60 minutes of the IWF notifying the host company or internet service provider.
However, Ms Hargreaves added: “We have a responsibility to do all we can to help protect children - and adults who were abused as children - from having their abuse viewed time and time again. We need to prevent people from stumbling upon this content and assist other countries in creating a hostile environment for hosting it.”
Around 77 per cent of the 2,058 people who took part in the poll, conducted by ComRes, said they were most concerned by child porn, while 73 per cent were worried about terrorist websites and 68% were concerned by extreme and violent porn. Just less than two-thirds were concerned with hate websites, which display racist or homophobic material, 61 per cent are worried about suicide content and around half of those surveyed were concerned by eating disorder websites.