Sharp rise in sexual images generated by children, Minister warns

There has been a “sharp rise” in self-generated compromising images, of a sexual nature, among seven- to 10-year-olds, according to Education Minister, Norma Foley, who said she was informed about this by the media regulator, Coimisiún na Meán.

She said predators were using social-media apps to groom children, often by pretending to be another child, and then blackmailing them once they provide compromising images.

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare – but we have seen from the results of a recent court case in this jurisdiction that it can be all too real,” she said.

Minister Foley also said social-media algorithms aimed at keeping children online for as long as possible are spreading harmful content, causing sleep deprivation and damaging pupils’ attention spans.

The Minister was speaking at the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation’s (INTO) annual congress in Derry on Monday evening,