Fraudsters Are Haunting Instagram Users Aged 12

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Instagram is a global platform where millions of people connect with each other and make friends every second. However, the number of children targeted for grooming and abuse on Instagram has increased rapidly, where some of the victims are the age of five. According to records, there were 5,161 reports of sexual communication with a child claimed in just 18 months.

Note: {Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram were used in 70% of those incidents}

Most likely, girls aged 12 to 15 were targeted, but about one in five victims were under the age of 11. These figures are really devastating showing that the social networks are lacking in children safety. In this chit-chatting society, Instagram was used by groomers 126 times between April and September 2017. This was increased to 428 for the same period last year. These figures growing criticism of how social networks secure the children and teenagers using their platform.

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To stop these online threats and harms, there should be some guidelines which will help to tackle grooming problems. One of the spokespersons said in an interview, we cannot wait for another big tragedy before these social networking sites are made to act.

One victim shares here tragedy which took place when she was at the age of 13. She was groomed by a 24 years old man on Instagram. She had met with the person through a mutual friend. The girl stated, in the beginning, the person introduced himself as the 16-year-old boy. She added him on her Facebook and Snapchat account. The victim said, “it escalated quickly’, she got physically abused by that person. The victim’s mother added: “Somebody has got to take responsibility for what happens to children on their platforms. Simply put, if social media didn’t exist, this would never have happened.”

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A spokesperson for Facebook and Instagram said: “Keeping young people safe on our platforms is our top priority and child exploitation of any kind is not allowed. “We use advanced technology and work closely with the police and CEOP to aggressively fight this type of content and protect young people.”

It is essential that online platforms used by children and young people have a secure mechanism and process to stop these abuse, identify sexual exploitation, including online grooming. There should be some mechanism to alert users if they are getting trapped into any harming activity.. It is found that Instagram’s users are getting targeted the most, which means there might be some loopholes that need to be filled quickly to prevent fraudulent activities.

Moreover, in Feb 2019, YouTube also announced that it is disabling comments on videos featuring children after a vlogger alleged that he had found instances of misinformation specifically targeting the youngsters.

Though social networking sites are coming into action and taking quick steps to prevent such harmful activities. On the other hand, users should also show their attention to their kid’s activities on social networking sites. They should take responsibility and guide their loved ones not to get engaged too much with an unknown person and not too involved in any fraudulent activities.

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