At the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's National Symposium on “Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation: Advancing Policy Solutions to Solve Child Sexual Exploitation in the Digital Age” at the U.S. Capitol, Haley Halverson, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at NCOSE, addressed the reality of the systems behind currently popular social media mediums like Instagram and Snapchat and how their platforms include features and vulnerabilities that leave children at risk of being easily targeted and groomed by predators.
In the digital age, child safety and well-being are often afterthoughts which lag far behind the goals of technological advancement and profit. Corporate and governmental policies regarding social media platforms, apps, Internet-connected devices like phones and tablets, and centralized DNS over HTTPS encryption (as planned by Google and Mozilla) are systematically slow to recognize their impact on childhood pornography exposure, predatory access to and grooming of children for sexual abuse and trafficking, and the staggering traffic in child sexual abuse materials.
This must change.
Thus, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation assembled subject matter experts to provide to Congress, as well as members of the general public, insights into the growing threats and harms of online child sexual exploitation. This discussion offered robust recommendations for combating online sexual exploitation and protecting children.