Online Groomers Turning To Instagram To Target Children

Of 147 online grooming offences recorded by West Yorkshire Police last year, 14 were through Instagram.

West Yorkshire Police recorded 147 online grooming offences last year.

Of them 14 were through Instagram and the NSPCC say there's been a dramatic rise in groomers using the platform to contact victims.

More than 5,000 online grooming offences have been recorded by police in England and Wales in just 18 months. 297 grooming offences were recorded by police forces in Yorkshire and the Humber between April 2017 and April 2018.

The recorded use of Instagram has risen dramatically over the 18 month period. From April 2017 to September 2017, where the communication method was recorded, Instagram was used by groomers in 126 instances, whereas between April 2018 and September 2018 it was recorded 428 times - more than a 200% increase.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “These figures are overwhelming evidence that keeping children safe cannot be left to social networks.

“We cannot wait for the next tragedy before tech companies are made to act. It is hugely concerning to see the sharp spike in grooming offences on Instagram, and it is vital that the platform designs basic protection more carefully into the service it offers young people.

“After 10 years of failed self-regulation by social networks, it is crucial that the Government’s imminent Online Harms White Paper includes new laws that tackle online grooming once and for all.”

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