Criminals and paedophiles are trying to groom and exploit young siblings as part of an emerging trend of online sexual abuse, experts have warned.
The Internet Watch Foundation said victims ranged from 3-16 years, with some groomed to copy adult pornography.
It found 511 examples involving siblings between September and December – roughly one in 30 instances of all “self-generated content” in that time.
Campaigners say livestreaming services need to do more to protect children.
The IWF, which works with police and websites worldwide to take down harmful material, said the Covid-19 pandemic had been a “perfect storm” for the abuse.
Its chief executive, Susie Hargreaves, said there had been:
- a greater demand for abusive content
- an increase in the amount of time spent online by children
- a rise in the use of livestreaming platforms
There was a “common myth” abuse involving siblings was limited to poorer countries – but most of the videos the IWF found featured children in the West, including from the UK, US and across Europe.
Grooming often begins on social-media and gaming platforms, before offenders encourage children on to video-chat or livestreaming services where the abuse then escalates.
And abuse of siblings typically involves an older child being coerced into abusing their younger brother or sister.
One video, shared online multiple times, involved a brother and sister aged six and three being given instructions by an abuser, the IWF said.
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