Talking sock encourages men to report underaged sexual images in Internet Watch Foundation video

Kindred Agency has made a film for the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to encourage men to report sexual images and videos of underage sexual content they may stumble across online, and it involves a talking sock.

The film, ‘So Socking Simple’, done with the IWF in partnership with sexual abuse charity the Marie Collins Foundation, features a young man and his ‘special sock’ — essentially a wank aid — a character who chats with him before watching online pornography.

The sock — a slightly dingy (ew) sock with eyes — who admits “they’ve seen a lot together”, tells the young man that reporting is quick, easy and anonymous and means the IWF can remove underage sexual content. Last year alone it removed more than 100,000 web pages containing criminal content.

Kim Curran, creative director at Kindred Agency said: “The insight that led to the birth of Sock, was how easy it is to become absorbed in the moment — particularly for young people whose metacognition is still developing. Our approach was to acknowledge the ‘hot state’ of browsing for porn, creating a humorous and relatable film that builds trust with the audience.”

Tink Palmer, chief executive of the Marie Collins Foundation added: “We’re really proud to be part of this film. It is clear from the work that we do with survivors that the proliferation of illegal images of children online is a growing problem. Many of the people that we work with say that the knowledge that their image is being viewed online can have as bad an impact as the original abuse. Many cannot get the thought out of their head that people are able to view their images and they have no control over this. There is something all of us can do to help — it starts by reporting any images we might come across.”

The film will run for two months across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Twitch. The Kindred team developed the work over a period of six months, working closely with the sexual abuse charity and survivors of sexual abuse. Production Company Blink Ink was chosen due to its team of expert puppeteers who bring inanimate objects to life.

This continues Kindred’s relationship with the IWF, producing advertising to prevent child sexual abuse.

Sinead Gray, managing partner at Kindred Agency said: “The creating of, viewing or sharing indecent images of children is a serious issue, but to really make positive change we had to hook our audience in and get them to watch and share. We’re not encouraging watching pornography; but we don’t want to shame and alienate young men when they can play a powerful role in making a difference.”

An online survey conducted by the independent research agency Ipsos Mori found that two thirds of men (63%) ages 18-24 say they are likely to report indecent images of children if they accidentally saw them. However, nearly half (49%) surveyed say that “not knowing where and how to report” is the top barrier that would stop them from reporting this. The new film addresses this gap in knowledge head on, helping young men act on their impetus to do the right thing. The film explains how young men can report images or videos featuring under 18s, quickly and anonymously to the IWF.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF chief executive, concluded: “This new creative film enables young men to be heroes. With large numbers of people watching pornography, there’s some who are likely to stumble on content they just don’t want to see. Our new film guides people on how to do the right thing and report sexual content of under 18s to us so we can take action to have it taken down. One hour is all it can take us to remove a victim’s images from the internet after responding to a report.”

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