Global effects of COVID-19 lockdowns

Lockdown globally as a result of COVID-19 has meant people are spending more time online, and the volume of digital content being produced is increasing exponentially making it harder to analyze. In addition, the repercussions of COVID-19 have created other challenges for policing the internet. To stop the spread of the virus, tech companies like Facebook and YouTube relied on automated systems that are less accurate than human reviewers in recognizing illegal material.

An online pool for predators

Over 1.5 billion students worldwide were impacted by school/educational institution closures, leaving many vulnerable to sexual predators. Being online then has encouraged the youth to remain online now, taking advantage of more unsupervised time spent on the internet. Perpetrators have sought youth vulnerability as a pool of youngsters to potentially groom and exploit.

The global expansion of inexpensive, high-speed internet and the growth of smartphone, tablet, and laptop ownership is swelling the number of children and young people who can be targeted. New populations coming online are often less aware of how to spot dangers. Meanwhile, children trapped at home with abusive relatives may become victims of the livestream sex abuse trade and other lucrative forms of cybersex trafficking.

► Take a short security checklist here to find out if you are keeping safe online.