CHILDREN targeted online in cyber-related sex crimes has increased in the Thames Valley, data reveals.

There has been a staggering 22 per cent rise in the number of online-related sex crimes against children in the Thames Valley in the last four years, according to The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

In 2018 to 2019, there were 369 reported sex offences against under 18's with a cyber element in comparison to 2017 where there were 121.

The police recorded 22 cyber-related sex crimes against children happening a day across the UK.

However, the children's charity fear the figures do not reflect the 'true extent' of online related crimes.

Peter Wanless, chief executive for NSPCC, said: "Behind each offence is a child suffering at the hands of sex offenders and worryingly, we know these figures are the tip of the iceberg.

"Far too many children are drowning in a sea of online threats so it is now time for the next Prime Minister to cast out the life jacket."

Cyber-related sex crimes can take place on online gaming, social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram or dating apps.

Police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland recorded 8,224 child sexual offences with an online element in 2018 to 2019.

The most common age of children being involved in these offences was 13-years-old and there were 185 offences committed against children aged 10 and under.