Sexually suggestive images that young people have posted of themselves on conventional websites for friends and others are being lifted by porn sites, a U.K. study has reported.

In less than 48 hours of study, analysts with the Internet Watch Foundation found that more than 12,000 such images and videos had spread over 68 websites, the study said.

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Most of the images and videos were taken from the original area where they were uploaded and made public on parasite websites, the U.K. study says. (Reuters)

"Most of the images and videos (88 per cent) appeared on 'parasite websites,' meaning they were taken from the original area where they were uploaded and made public on other websites," the IWF reported.

Sarah Smith, a technical researcher with the foundation, said in a statement that it often comes across large quantities of self-generated sexual content copies from its original location.

"But this is the first time we've been able to demonstrate the extent to which this occurs."

Of the material surveyed, 7,147 were images and 5,077 were videos. Of the 12,224 images/videos, 10,776 were on parasite websites, the IWF said.

Unsettling indication

The study will be used as part of the U.K. Safer Internet Centre — a partnership between the IWF, Childnet, and the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL).

"This research gives an unsettling indication of the number of images and videos on the internet featuring young people performing sexually explicit acts or posing," said Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the IWF.

"It also highlights the problem of control of these images. Once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account."