instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Porn fears as child sexting cases double in two years

POLICE are concerned about the impact of extreme pornography as child sexting cases more than doubled in two years.

Forces in England and Wales registered 6,238 cases of under-18s sharing or possessing sexual images of themselves or others in 2016-17 — a rate of 17 every day.

The total was up by a third on the 4,681 the previous year, and 131 per cent on 2014-15 when 2,700 cases were logged.

Simon Bailey, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection, said: ‘Once an image is shared it can cause deep embarrassment and distress.

‘I am concerned about the impact that exposure to extreme pornography can have on children so we need to consider if a lack of sex education is compounding the problem.’

Police said reports come from children as young as ten, with cases peaking around the age of 14. Boys are as likely as girls to be suspects or perpetrators but girls are more likely to be victims.

The number of children facing charges has more than halved since new rules applying to cases with no evidence of exploitation or malicious intent were introduced last year.

The NSPCC said the rise in sexting is ‘extremely worrying’, adding: ‘It is vital that parents and schools talk to children about the dangers of sexting as soon as they are given any technology.’

■ SCREEN time on a computer, tablet, games console or mobile phone is the favourite way to play for 84 per cent of children. Watching TV was chosen by 73 per cent of children aged six to 12, while colouring or making things was third at 60 per cent. The poll for BBC Children in Need and Asda was to launch the Power of Play campaign to boost physical activity.