Hearts of Hope, a local organization that provides support and services to child sexual abuse victims is warning parents about the spread of child pornography on social media.
“We have children out there who have cell phones and iPads and they are getting them at Christmas time and birthdays as early as age 4 and 5,” says Val Senegal with Hearts of Hope. “They are setting up social media accounts and parents have no clue.”
The organization recently surveyed children throughout Acadiana about how they used the Internet.
Among those surveyed, 58 percent admitted that they communicated with adults online they don’t know.
“These adults are setting up fake pages and they are communicating with our children,” Senegal said. “They are getting these nude photographs, these sexually explicit videos from our own children’s hands a lot of times.”
Senegal says it’s more important now than ever for parents to have to difficult conversations with their children about what’s appropriate behavior on the Internet.
“Once it’s gone, it’s out of your hands, it’s out for the whole world,” she said. “It gets posted, it gets shared, it gets screenshot, it gets posted here. These images are constantly being sold in the pornography industry.”
Senegal says with new apps being created everyday, more people in the tech industry need to become involved in the fight against child pornography.
If you are someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, visit Hearts of Hope’s website here.