Online grooming cases increase by almost 50%

Online safety must be a priority for parents buying internet devices this Christmas

We're warning parents to be aware of internet safety when buying Christmas gifts after our ChildLine service revealed a huge rise in contacts from children worried about online grooming.

Girls appear to be particularly prone to being contacted on social networks, online game environments and other areas popular with children and young people. But boys could be less likely to report their experiences and seek help.

Phone with alert

Children felt trapped and scared after being asked to:

  • perform sexual acts on webcam
  • send sexual images online
  • meet up in person.

Often, those making these demands appeared from their profiles to be the same or a similar age to the children targeted – but then turned out to be much older adults.

"The internet offers an amazing environment for children to be creative, explore their interests, play with friends, learn or socialise, but there are risks every parent buying enabled devices this Christmas should be aware of."
Peter Wanless / Chief Executive at the NSPCC

"It all happened so quickly, he’d only been talking to them for a few weeks before he arranged to meet them."
Leslie* / Mother of Abigail* and Kathryn*

"Parents have a vital role to play in keeping children safe online and it doesn’t have to be daunting. Just asking children what sites, apps and games they use could be a great way to start a conversation. And there is a wealth of advice available on our website."
Peter Wanless / Chief Executive at the NSPCC

Worried about a child?

Contact our trained helpline counsellors for help, advice and support.

0808 800 5000

Report a concern


Names have been changed to protect identities. Any photographs are posed by models.