Belfast Telegraph

NSPCC issues warning as online abuse cases rise

By staff reporter

The 164 children in Northern Ireland who contacted Childline about online sexual abuse last year may just be the tip of the iceberg, the NSPCC has warned.

The true figure is likely to be higher, as 861 children did not disclose where they lived, the charity said.

The NSPCC is urging parents to talk to their children about online safety if they bought them internet devices as Christmas presents, following a huge rise in contacts to Childline about online sex abuse.

Neil Anderson, head of NSPCC in Northern Ireland, said: "The web can be a fantastic place for children and young people to socialise, explore their interests, and learn, but every parent buying an internet device should be aware that there are risks, too and think about installing parental controls. In the last year we've seen a staggering rise in online sexual abuse, with many children turning to Childline when the situation has escalated."

The NSPCC offers resources to help parents talk about online issues, and Childline is available at 0800 1111.

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