A pop-up warning has been introduced to Microsoft on its Bing search engine that tells UK internet users that they are searching for illegal child abuse images.
The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and children's charity the NSPCC did a survey with 327 (social workers) respondents which showed that:
Almost half of the respondents did not know how to recognise the signs of online sexual abuse of children, while more than two-thirds felt they needed more support in tackling online abuse cases;
Just about half (49%) said a quarter of their sexual abuse cases involve some type of online abuse;
30% said they did not feel confident dealing with child protection sexual abuse cases using the internet;
(34%) of social workers surveyed said they did not feel confident about understanding the language used by young people online and
47% said they did not know how young people communicate via social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive said:
“Vulnerable young people are now being coerced into sharing explicit images of themselves via mobile phone messages and apps. It's worrying that the majority of social workers surveyed by BASW are struggling to understand how online child abuse happens.”
Nushra Mansuri, BASW professional officer also gave a similar view:
“The number of cases in which the internet plays a part in the grooming and abuse of children is rising, and social workers need to be equipped to recognise the warning signs.”
On Saturday, Microsoft gave a beckon of hope and said:
“Anyone using the engine to search for child abuse material will trigger the Bing notification platform message warning, which tells them they are looking for illegal content and provides a link to a counselling service.”
A Microsoft spokesman further said:
“If someone in the UK tries to use search terms on Bing which can only indicate they are looking for illegal child abuse content, they will activate the Bing notification platform, which will produce an on-screen notification telling them that child abuse content is illegal.
“The notification will also contain a link to Stopitnow.org who will be able to provide them with counselling.”
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