A mother has been told to block her son’s account from Twitter after he used the social network to share sexually explicit photos of his daughters and ask others to do the same.
The child sexual abuse and exploitation watchdog has received a complaint from a mother of a six-year-old girl and a five-year, four-month-old boy about the posts.
The boy, who cannot be named, told the watchdog he had “lost control of his Twitter feed” after seeing the messages.
“I have to be more careful now and take all these things seriously, because they are a serious matter,” he said.
“We are going to take it very seriously.”
The report was prepared by the Independent Child Sexual Abuse Advisory Group and was handed to the parents of the girls last week.
The report said that because Twitter allows people to post child pornography without their parents’ knowledge, it can also be used for “inappropriate behaviour”.
“We do not think that these tweets are inappropriate for the six- to seven-year age group,” it said.
“We also note that they have not been reported to Twitter or their parent(s).”
Parents should be informed about the dangers of sending sexually explicit messages to children, and how to remove them.
“Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Department for Education said it was “actively investigating” the allegations and that Twitter had implemented “strong measures to prevent further abuse”.”
As part of our investigation, Twitter has removed the account of a child who has made these posts, and we will continue to monitor the situation,” it added.
The Guardian can disclose that the father of the child has asked the Department for Children and Families to investigate the allegations.
He told the paper he had sent the messages to his two-year old daughter and his two and four-year olds, saying he wanted to make the girls feel safe.
He said the messages were “totally inappropriate and dangerous” but had not been “repeatedly reported to them”.”
They just sent it back,” he told the newspaper.”
That’s not what I would do, that’s not the type of person I would be, and that’s how my kids should feel.
“When they sent it to me I sent it again, it’s just not right.
I just want to get them to know I am not that kind of person.”
The child protection agency has called on Twitter to “make clear to parents and guardians what they can do to remove content from their accounts, so that they can be protected”.
It also urged Twitter to make “comprehensive and consistent” changes to its policies and procedures to ensure the safety of children.
Twitter said it would review its policies after receiving the report.
The watchdog also said the “risk to the public” posed by such images was “great”.