Paedophiles are starting to use VR headsets to view child abuse images

Paedophiles are starting to use virtual reality headsets to view child abuse images, crime records suggest.

Children’s charity, NSPCC, obtained data from police forces in England and Wales including details of which social media sites or types of technology were mentioned in reported crimes.

Police recorded 30,925 offences involving obscene images of children in the past year, the highest number ever logged by forces in England and Wales.

Among these, a social media or gaming site was recorded in 9,888 cases, with Snapchat being the most unsafe having 4,293 incidents.

Of the cases, 1,361 was on Facebook, 1,363 on Instagram and 547 on WhatsApp.

Virtual reality was recorded eight times by police forces in crime reports, the first time this technology has been specifically mentioned, the NSPCC said.

The NSPCC is asking for amendments to the Online Safety Bill to create a child safety advocate to represent the interests of children and families.

It also wants changes to the law to mean senior managers of social media sites are held criminally liable if children are exposed to preventable abuse.

‘These new figures are incredibly alarming but reflect just the tip of the iceberg of what children are experiencing online,’ said Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC.

‘We hear from young people who feel powerless and let down as online sexual abuse risks becoming normalised for a generation of children,’

‘It would be inexcusable if in five years’ time we are still playing catch-up to pervasive abuse that has been allowed to proliferate on social media.’ said Wanless.

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