There have been lots of reports in the media today about children using AI to generate nude images of other children (Today programme, BBC, Independent, Telegraph etc). This first hit the news as a concern more than a month ago when some children in Spain were found to have made and shared images of their classmates.
It's important to understand this issue, but also to think about the right response. At this stage the number of these images that have been detected is very small. These images would not be being generated through Chat GPT or Bing etc but through image generation sites that allow generation of NSFW content.
Most children (especially younger children) wont have this on their radar at all at the moment. They are experimenting with the main image generation tools but most of these have controls in place (which you may have already come across yourself).
However, there are numerous tools for other types of image generation online. Unfortunately at the moment these sites are very accessible so while the concern would not be that children are going to start generating these images on mass - this will undoubtedly effect some of our children and young people.
Increasingly there are many streams of content and articles online inviting users to generate their own personalised Porn and NSFW imagery across the internet and non of these are age gated. Any adult seeking to manipulate a child online will be considering using these tools in this process, and adults will start posting this content into children's feeds and forums to unsettle them and to manipulate them.
The more widespread the use of the tools becomes the more they will effect children generally.
Some adults will ask children to generate these images rather than be held responsible for that, or in order to access images of a child's friends.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN IN OUR CARE?
Please remember that as parents and/or professionals we are not in this alone. We work together with each other and our children to make sure that they are safe online.
Although this is undoubtedly a challenging area (especially when we think about children who are already vulnerable online and have low levels of support and supervision... or older young people who are exploring things widely online).... we can all help to oversee this. By being aware and watchful of what any child is accessing we help all children.
If appropriate, make sure that your child knows that generating these images is illegal and if they find it has happened to anyone they know you will help them to get them taken down (contact us for more details if you need help with this or google the report remove tool).
(In Scottish law "pseudo images" of a child - which covers AI generated images - are treated in the same way as any indecent images of a child and there are significant penalties for making them, being in possession of them or sharing them....
It's important for every child to understand this as a tool that is there to protect them and others once they are old enough to understand it).
Increase awareness around who every child is interacting with online, who are their friends and followers. Are their images secure and private and how safe are the other children and young people around them. This is at the heart of contextual safeguarding.
More to come on this but most importantly don't panic. We can protect children together with awareness and understanding. And any questions just ask. Annabel