Warning over online sexual exploitation

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THOUSANDS of school children have been warned of the dangers of online sex abuse.

It comes as the NSPCC launches a major campaign to battle the growing problem.

Figures show the charity has spoken to 3,000 pupils across 22 schools in the city.

Michelle Barry, area co-ordinator for the NSPCC’s Speak Out, Stay Safe service in Portsmouth, said one in eight counselling sessions related to grooming.

She said: ‘It’s clear the growing use of apps, webcams and social media is in part to blame. Now Childline is launching a new campaign, Listen To Your Selfie, which is aimed at helping young people recognise the signs of grooming and unhealthy relationships, both online and offline.

‘The campaign, which has been funded by BBC Children in Need, features two films where selfies come to life and question a situation.’

Warning signs include changes in time spent online, being withdrawn, secretive and having new contacts.