A charity has found that sex offenders are grooming children on Instagram more than on any other platform.

Police in England and Wales recorded 1,944 cases of sexual communication with children within six months. Instagram was used in 32% of the 1,317 cases where a method was recorded, Facebook in 23% and Snapchat in 14%.

Instagram and Facebook said they “aggressively” fought grooming, while Snapchat said it was “unacceptable”.

Following pressure from campaigners, sexual communication with a child became an offence in April 2017. In the 18 months that followed, more than 5,000 online grooming offences were recorded by police, according to the data gathered by the NSPCC. The charity said the figures did not “fully reflect the scale of the issue”, as many crimes went undetected or unreported.

Where the police logged age and gender, seven out of 10 victims were girls aged 12 to 15. One in five was aged 11 or under. The youngest victim was five years old.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (1st March 2019)