Cases of online grooming against children has risen 82% in the last five years, reveals the NSPCC.
Data gathered from UK police forces shows a worrying close to 34,000 grooming crimes recorded in the last six years, across 150 different apps, games, and websites. Of those platforms, 47% of crimes were reported on Meta-owned Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and a further 26% were reported on Snapchat.
NSPCC first called for online safety regulations in 2017. Next month (September), the Online Safety Bill will undergo its third reading in the House of Lords, where MPs and Lords will make their final decision. The Bill will mean tech companies have a duty of care for young people, and must risk-assess their products. Ofcom will also have power to address abuse in private messaging.
A recent YouGov poll showed 73% of voters support this legislation. The NSPCC is urging MPs, Lords, and tech companies to back the bill in its upcoming reading.
‘The number of offences must serve as a reminder of why the Online Safety Bill is so important,’ said NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless. ‘It’s now up to tech firms, including those highlighted by these stark figures today, to make sure their current sites and future services do not put children at unacceptable risk of abuse.’
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