Paedophiles 'increasingly targeting girls online for webcam sex'

London, August 27 (ANI): Paedophiles are taking advantage of social media to groom youngsters and encourage them to perform sex acts on webcams.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre said it is being flooded with reports that older men were targeting vulnerable girls on sites such as Facebook.

The watchdog said that they were building friendships with the youngsters, before initiating 'sexually exploitative acts' such as convincing them to take revealing pictures of themselves.

Some of the paedophiles set up profiles pretending to be much younger than they are to lure girls into a false sense of security.

CEOP, which exists to protect children online, has seen the number of reports of inappropriate behaviour rise to more than 1,000 a month - up from just 400 a few years ago.

"Children are making themselves vulnerable to adult offenders who seek to talk to them, establish a relationship with them and get them to do things they are not comfortable with," the Daily Mail quoted Zoe Hilton, head of safeguarding at CEOP, as saying.

"Children take risks and can be quite naive. It can be exciting for them to chat to people they did not know before. Many are on social networking sites where they like to share personal information.

"Hardened paedophile groomers are often quite skilled at getting children to do things they do not want to do, especially since the rise of the webcam. All computers are webcam-enabled now.

"They persuade children to go on the webcam and expose themselves, persuade them to send pictures. It can be the first hook to meeting and further grooming.'

"A lot of children are online now. It is part of their life and growing up, so all the sexual experimentation our generation did offline, they feel natural doing online," she added. (ANI)