PARENTS are being urged to recognise the signs of online internet abuse ahead of a national charity campaign.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are offering tips to parents about how to talk to their children on the topic of online safety.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal offenders used the internet to target children nearly 10 thousand times last year.

These cyber-crimes made up 16 per cent of the total number of child sexual offences recorded by police in England and Wales between September 2017 and 2018.

The children's charity has launched a #WildWestWeb campaign in order for an indepedent regulator to have the power to investigate and fine social network accounts falling short of protecting children.

Social media apps like Instagram host graphic material, sensationalising self-harm and suicide and this makes it really easy for young children to be influenced with a click of a button.

Andy Burrows, NSPCC associate head of child safety online, said: "For too long social networks have been allowed to operate in a Wild West environment and put children at an unacceptable risk.

"It is hugely significant that the committee is endorsing the NSPCC's proposal for a legal duty of care to be imposed on these tech companies."

The NSPCC wants parents to ensure they are having regular conversations with their children about being safe online and spotting the signs of inappropriate content or behaviour.

Tips for parents and children should:

  • Explore sites and apps together
  • Talk about uncomfortable things online
  • Have conversations about what is okay and not okay to share
  • Reassure them that you will not overreact and listen to them

Later this month the government is due to publish new laws to protect children and vulnerable groups online.