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CEOP: Reports of inappropriate content on the up

A quarter of reports relate to incidents of grooming

The number of reports about inappropriate content on the web has risen, says the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP).

According to CEOP figures there were more than 6,000 reports of child abuse in the last year, that's 880 up on the previous year. A quarter of these related to grooming incidents and another quarter concerned the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of children. Furthermore, eight percent involved sexual abuse and 135 related to a suspect making arrangements to meet a child in the real world

Two in five of the reports were made by members of the public and of the total reports. However, the CEOP said the overall increase in reports was due to "a rise in industry reporting – from online moderators, website hosts and mobile phone companies, among others".

The organisation revealed its advice pages had been viewed more than 128,500 times in the year.

"The scale and nature of reports received by CEOP's child protection specialists demonstrate an ongoing need to educate and inform young people about the risk of posting inappropriate images of themselves online," said Jim Gamble, Chief Executive, of the CEOP .

"One report sometimes enables us to identify hundreds of victims. The fact that a quarter of our reports relate to grooming – and in particular the 135 reports of children who were contacted by offenders attempting to meet them offline – highlight the importance of CEOP's online safety programme, which has now reached more than 6 million children."

The CEOP also said there was increase in the number of explicit 'self-taken' images by children and young people, which indicates that "many are prepared to take risks in making online contact with strangers".

As a result the organisation has launched a two week advertising campaign on Facebook, which is supported by the social networking site, in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of uploading indecent images online.

See also: Child protection chief Jim Gamble quits

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