Child sexual abuse content and online threats to children are increasing in the digital age . This includes minors taking and sharing sexual images of themselves and risky online interactions between youth and adults . A recent report from Thorn , a technology nonprofit , highlights alarming trends in online child endangerment , such as the rise in self-generated child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and the audacious behavior of online predators .
Thorn’s report reveals a concerning increase in self-generated CSAM and the bold actions of online predators. These images , whether produced under coercion or with consent , circulate widely on online platforms , with predators exploiting them for nefarious purposes . Child safety organizations have reported a significant surge in CSAM files , with reported cases increasing by 329% in the last five years , reaching over 88.3 million files in 2022 alone . Additionally, over 80,000 new reports of suspected CSAM are submitted to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline daily .
To combat this issue, technology plays a crucial role in detecting and disrupting the spread of CSAM. Hashing and matching techniques convert files into unique hash values and compare them against known CSAM hash lists . Expanding the corpus of known CSAM hash values is essential for effective detection . Tech companies and NGOs are key partners in eliminating CSAM from the internet , with content-hosting platforms playing a significant role. The adoption of detection tools across platforms offers hope in addressing this problem and creating a safer online space for children . Safer  , a proactive CSAM detection tool , has already helped identify millions of pieces of CSAM .
The exponential growth of CSAM poses a significant challenge, as tech companies are not currently required to proactively search for , detect   , and remove CSAM within a specific timeframe. To make a real impact, it is crucial to change the requirements and standards for how tech companies operate . By doing so, we can alleviate the burden on parents and work towards a safer online environment for children.