Peter Davies, Chief Executive at CEOP, has told Daybreak that children who are "most vulnerable" are more likely to be targeted by sex offenders online.
CEOP and NSPCC are encouraging parents and carers to talk to children about what they do online on Safer Internet Day tomorrow.
Accessing the internet and using mobile phones can put children at risk of:
- Seeing disturbing information or images
- Being the victim of online bullying (also known as cyberbullying)
- Being contacted and manipulated by an adult for sexual purposes (also known as grooming)
- Sharing personal and identifying information with strangers
- sending or receiving sexually explicit films, images or messages of themselves or others (this is known as sexting when sent by mobile phone)
To help keep your child safe online:
- Talk to your child about the dangers posed by the internet
- Tell them what they should do if they become worried or concerned
- Explain that anything shared online or by mobile phone could end up being seen by anyone
- Understand what your child does online and know which websites they visit
- Put the computer where the whole family can see it, not out of sight in a bedroom
- Use filtering software to block inappropriate sites
- Encourage your child to use websites such as ChildLine where they can find advice and guidance on safe (but fun) use of the internet
– Claire Lilly from the NSPCC
The internet is part and parcel of young lives and most can't remember a world before it existed.
We cannot put the genie back in the bottle, but we can talk to young people and educate them on staying safe online just as we do about stranger danger or drugs.
We are seeing a sharp rise in young people contacting ChildLine about being approached online, sending images to strangers or being exposed to online pornography.
- According to figures from Ofcom, six out of ten 12 to 15 year olds now own a smart phone, and that the number has increased by a fifth in the past year.
- More than two-thirds of those do not have parental controls installed on their phones.
- CEOP also said that instant messaging on some phones is used by paedophiles to groom potential victims.
- It was used by offenders to make contact with children in around third of public reports of grooming in 2012/13.
On a daily basis we see the devastation caused to young people's lives by online grooming.
What we are seeing is that for a growing proportion of grooming cases reported to the centre, online abuse is an end in itself.
UK children can be targeted from anywhere and offenders will cast their net widely to target large numbers of children.
– Chief executive of CEOP Peter Davies
Things can quickly spiral out of control for victims.
Children may be targeted because of their vulnerability but any child can be a victim.
What is apparent is that parents' and carers' can make that vital difference in whether or not a child becomes a victim of these ruthless predators online.
Children are being groomed by paedophiles purely for online sexual abuse, experts have said today.
Sex offenders are targeting children so that they can watch them performing sexual acts over the internet.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) said that for these paedophiles, physical contact with the children does not appear to be a motivation.
It follows the conviction in December of two brothers in Kuwait who targeted 110 children worldwide, including 78 in the UK, and forced them into performing sexual acts online.
CEOP also said that of 1,145 reports of online grooming last year, just 7% related to trying to meet a child in person, a drop from 12% in 2011.