Now parents told to snoop on their child's Facebook: Expert warns of online picture riskParents should stop children uploading intimate photos of themselvesPhotos of children kissing or showing their flesh should be taken down
Warning comes after PM's adviser urged parents to read children's textsFigures show a rise in reports of incidents relating to online grooming
Children Exploitation and Online Protection Centre received three a day

there were 1,145 public reports relating to incidents of online grooming – or three a day.

But just 7% of these incidents related to trying to meet a child in person, down from 12% in 2011.

The centre warned that offenders may
target hundreds of children at a time and that once contact is made,
threats and intimidation are likely to follow soon after.


It added that children who are groomed into performing sexual acts online can feel ashamed that they lost control, desperate or even suicidal.

Miss Berelowitz said: ‘Parents should talk to young people about their online friends, just as they would talk to them about their school friends.

‘If children are worried about something that has happened online, they should be listened to and never be made to feel guilty about raising their concerns.’

CEOP chief executive, Peter Davies, said: '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. 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.'

The report 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.

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.

Technophiles: Ofcom figures show that six out of ten 12 to 15 year olds own a smart phone

Technophiles: Ofcom figures show that six out of ten 12 to 15 year olds own a smart phone

Claire Lilly from the NSPCC said: '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.'

CEOP and the charity are encourage parents and carers to talk to children about what they do online on Safer Internet Day tomorrow.