Surge in online grooming through social media networks 

Instagram was the most frequently cited platform, seen in almost a third of the most recent grooming cases. It was used 428 recorded times in 2018 --  an increase of 239% from 2017.

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
Surge in online grooming through social media networks  - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Reports of grooming on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are increasing.

Statistics obtained by the NSPCC show that in the past year reported cases of grooming rose by 239% on Instagram. Instagram was also the most frequented platform for predatory behaviour, responsible for almost on third of all incidents.

The most targeted were girls aged 12 to 15, however in some cases the victim was reported to be as young as five.

A statement from the NSPCC concluded, “After ten 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.”

Details from the story:

  • Police statistics have recorded more than 5,000 instances of online grooming stemming from online platforms.
  • These figure mark an almost 50% increase, with 1944 cases of sexual communication with a child being recorded between April and September 2018, a rise from 2017 where 1,316 cases were recorded in the same period.
  • Instagram was the most frequently used platform, seen in almost a third of the most recent grooming cases. It was used 428 recorded times in 2018 -- an increase of 239% from 2017.
  • The most likely victims of predatory behaviour were girls aged 12-15, however there were instances of victims as young as five.
  • The British government has made clear its intention to introduce stricter regulation on social media platforms.
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