In a new study conducted by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) , researchers came across 12,224 self-made sexually explicit photos and videos of young people in only 47 hours of research. Of the media they found, 7,147 were images, and 5,077 were videos. Overall, 10,776 — or 88 percent — were found on parasite websites. A parasite website take users’ sexually explicit media from sites like Twitter and Facebook and reposts them publicly, without the owner’s consent.

“Once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account,” Internet Watch Foundation CEO Susie Hargreaves said. “We need young people to realize that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely,” she said.

This is why people need to be careful with what they share. Sexting teens and oversharing on Facebook is a common practice, but it’s all fun and games until their image is being used illegally. “I came to regret posting photographs of myself naively on the internet and tried to forget about it, but strangers recognized me from the photographs and made lewd remarks at school,” one anonymous young person told the foundation. “I endured so much bullying because of this photograph and the others … I was eventually admitted for severe depression and was treated for a suicide attempt,” that person said.

Sharing isn’t always caring. Do it with caution or don’t do it at all.

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  • Anthony

    I think it will take a generation for it to sink in that things posted online are permanent. In other words, it will take a generation of kids who screwed up that will raise their kids with an understanding of how damaging posting the wrong things online can be. Then, the number of thoughtless posts will taper off, but they will never go away.

  • Dee

    I only think those numbers will rise. Cameras are being put on everything and real-time video chatting is becoming possible on more and more devices. Let’s be real most kids will have at least one of these devices.

    Most kids are curious about their sexuality and will do things their not supposed to, especially if parents don’t keep an eye on what their kids are doing online.

  • E.M.S.

    If you ask me, it’s poetic justice. Serves them right if they can’t be smart enough, or respect themselves enough, not to do it in the first place.