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Video: New Childline 'Listen To Your Selfie' campaign highlights risks posed by social media


Social media and online forums can be "playgrounds for paedophiles" and are leading to more children in Northern Ireland becoming potential victims of grooming for sex, according to new research.

The latest statistics from Childline show the charity held 164 counselling sessions last year with children here worried about online sexual abuse..

The true figure of contacts to Childline from Northern Ireland is likely to be higher because almost 25% of young people contacting the service from across the UK did not disclose where they were from.

Now Childline is launching a new campaign - Listen To Your Selfie - which is aimed at helping young people recognise the signs of grooming and unhealthy relationships, both online and offline.

The campaign, which has been funded by BBC Children in Need, features two films where selfies come to life and question a situation.

Neil Anderson, head of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, said: "Most of us talk to people online and it's a great way to stay connected and make new friends.

"But it can be a playground for paedophiles, exposing young people to groomers who trawl social networks and online game forums exploiting any vulnerabilities they may find.

"Young people may not understand what is right or wrong in a relationship, or what to do if something makes them feel uncomfortable, online or offline.

"Listen to your Selfie is aimed at helping young people recognise signs they are being manipulated, controlled or exploited so they feel empowered to make their own decisions or choices.

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