-- It's often wryly observed that birth rates peak in September, with many studies citing seasonal changes in human biology to explain this post-holiday "baby boom." But new research from scientists at Indiana University and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal finds that spikes in pregnancies are actually rooted in society, not biology.

As a direct consequence of this an estimated 1 billion people have been alerted to this form of child sexual exploitation, a number of arrests and convictions have taken place in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK, children have been rescued from cybersex ‘dens’ and national legislation in some countries has been amended.

Though originally regarded by some as unorthodox and controversial, this new, proactive approach by has been appreciated by many and is opening new opportunities for cooperation between agencies in order to prevent children falling victim to these 21st century cyber crimes.

The case of Eid al-Fitr is significant because the holiday does not occur on the same day each year, but the measured effect still shifts accordingly, following a clear cultural pattern.

Because the seasons are reversed on opposites sides of the globe, and peak birth rates and online interest in sex did not change based on geography, the researchers concluded the relationship between these effects is unrelated to biological shifts caused by changes in daylight, temperature or food availability."We didn't see a reversal in birth rate or online interest in sex trends between the Northern and Southern hemispheres -- and it didn't seem to matter how far people lived from the equator," Rocha said.

"Rather, the study found culture -- measured through online mood -- to be the primary driver behind cyclic sexual and reproductive behavior in human populations."To understand the higher interest in sex during holidays, the researchers also conducted a sophisticated review of word choices in Twitter posts -- known as a "sentiment analysis" -- to reveal that, collectively, people appear to feel happier, safer and calmer during the holidays.

When these collective moods appear on other occasions throughout the year, the analysis also found a corresponding increase in online interest in sex.

In 2013, based on observations and reports from partner organisations in the Philippines, Terre des Hommes in The Netherlands initiated the ‘Sweetie’ project with the dual intention of drawing attention to the online sexual exploitation of children and of demonstrating that the identification of potential child abusers is relatively simple.

By using computer animation technology, a virtual 10-year old Philippine girl (“Sweetie”) was created which allowed researchers to identify one thousand pedophiles from no less than 71 countries within ten weeks.

This growing threat includes the live streaming of child sexual abuse, grooming of children and sexual extortion.