Punishable trend: teenagers spread porn in class chat

The spread of depictions of child sexual abuse in class chats is an ongoing problem. Various campaigns from the field of crime prevention are already raising awareness about this serious problem. In its broadcast yesterday, SWR also drew attention to the fact that depictions of abuse and violence are often spread in class chats by children and young people themselves.

Group chats on WhatsApp and other messengers are a popular means of communication, especially in Corona times, to stay in touch with friends and classmates. Here, however, not only everyday things are discussed, but also inadmissible content is carelessly shared. Most of those involved are not aware of the criminal consequences.

How children and young people get hold of the punishable material is not always entirely clear. In some cases, it happened that chat groups were founded by adult, pedosexual perpetrators in order to specifically invite children and adolescents. The content shared there was later redistributed by the minors in other chat groups, for example in class chat. In this way, the inadmissible images and videos achieved widespread distribution among children and young people within a very short time.

What can parents do to protect their children?

  • Talk to your child to make him or her aware of the issue. Spreading child, youth and animal pornography is not a joke, but a criminal offense. Anyone who comes across such content or receives it is required to report it to the criminal investigation department immediately.
  • Talk to your child about the possible consequences. Although children under the age of 14 are not liable to prosecution, this does not protect them from a search by the police. In this case, all media devices (cell phone, tablet, laptop, game consoles, etc.) will be confiscated and evaluated. Juveniles over the age of 14 are at risk of a conviction under juvenile criminal law. Under certain circumstances, legal guardians may also face legal consequences, for example if the cell phone contract is in your name.
  • Together with your child, make important security settings on your smartphone. For the WhatsApp messenger, for example, this meansswitching off the automatic download of media (settings > Data and storage use > Autom. Download of media). In addition, Privacy should be set so that foreign contacts cannot add your child's cell phone number to a WhatsApp group. Via Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups you can set which contacts from the address book are allowed to add to groups.
  • Discuss with your child that group invitations from strangers should generally not be accepted. Just joining a group can be a criminal offense of possessing child pornography by automatically downloading image and video files. Groups can also be reported directly to WhatsApp.
  • Make sure your child understands that even seemingly harmless videos can hide cruel content. The preview image may have been manipulated to disguise the true content. Therefore,  shouldonly open videos that have been sent by trustworthy people.
  • People who were the victim of sexual violence as a child often still suffer years later from images of their abuse circulating on the Internet. Talk to your children in an age-appropriate way about the fact that circulating abuse images is forbidden simply out of respect for the victims .

Various materials for prevention work with children and young people are available on klicksafe :

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