'Sexting' fears for eight-year-olds, support centre warns

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Children as young as eight in north Wales have been sending indecent images to each other, a victim support centre has claimed.

Karen Reed, of the area's Victim Help Centre, warned "sexting" via apps such as Snapchat on mobile phones was a growing problem.

She said the situation could get worse during the summer holidays.

North Wales' Police and Crime Commissioner said it was "worrying phenomenon" that must be tackled.

In April, NSPCC Cymru reported a rise in under-18s being reported to North Wales Police for distributing indecent images of children.

The charity said two children were reported to the force in 2013, but this had risen to 28 in 2015.

'Must be vigilant'

Ms Reed said: "We've has some cases of children who have experienced sexting who are under 10 years old, as young as eight or nine years old. It doesn't seem to discriminate between boys or girls really.

"Young people have access to mobile phones from a very young age, and especially now, a time like summer holidays when children are out and about playing with their friends.

"The children will send photographs of various pictures to each other. They'll be pornographic, explicit photographs - sometimes of themselves, sometimes they're sharing photographs that have maybe been passed on to them from various sources.

"I think it would be very difficult to say that there are many children now who haven't been touched by this type of crime. That's my experience of it here anyway."

Mr Jones said it was important to educate children and their parents of the dangers of sending such images.

"Technological advances have brought great benefits to society but at the same time they have increased risk and the scope for wrongdoing, so we must be vigilant," he said.

The centre, which is run by staff and volunteers, gives parents advice about how to keep their children safe when using technology. It can be contacted free on 0300 3030159.

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