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Press releases archive


Thousands of children at risk online, according to new poll

14 November 2014

ECPAT UK runs a peer-to-peer project with young people on online safety

ECPAT UK today expressed great concern over recent evidence showing a persistent rise in numbers of children reporting experience of cyberbullying and abuse online.

Thousands of teenagers, including many aged 15 or under, are using the messaging service Snapchat and the dating app Tinder every day, according to the study by internet security firm McAfee. 

The study found that cyberbullying rates have more than doubled over the past 12 months. In a poll of 11 to 17 year olds:

35% reported that they have experienced cyberbullying – compared with 16% last year 

Four in 10 said they had witnessed others being picked on online – almost double the 22% recorded last year.

One in six youngsters admitted using the Tinder dating app every day  

67% of children are now allowed to go online without supervision.

In response to the latest report, and ahead of Anti-Bullying Week, which starts on Monday, Bharti Patel CEO of ECPAT UK said:

 “What this research shows is the close and worrying connection between the rapid and unchecked access to the internet by children to the increasing cases of children being abused online. The internet and social media are increasingly being used to groom children for sexual abuse. Abusers will use flattery and promises of gifts to gain their trust and become their friends. Many will resort to threats and intimidation in order to achieve some control over the child. Some even pose as young people themselves in order to create a false sense of security for their victim, and to persuade them to share indecent images, which are later used to blackmail the victim into carrying out further sexual activities.  

“Of particular concern in the research findings is that only one-third of parents are worried about their child being bullied online. Parents should take these findings very seriously and ensure that as adults they take the responsibility to understand the dark side of the internet and put in place safe measures to protect their children." 

ECPAT UK, along with ECPAT partners in Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, two years ago initiated a project working with young people, parents and teachers, developing a peer-to-peer education programme focusing on strengthening young people’s understanding of the dangers of the World Wide Web, and to help develop and exchange safety skills when using information technology.  The partners together have designed and developed specialist information leaflets and posters giving information and advice to parents and carers on supporting young people online. 

These leaflets are available in several key languages. In the UK this includes leaflets in English, Bengali, Punjabi, Polish, Hindi and Vietnamese. 


ECPAT UK is a leading children’s rights charity committed to preventing child trafficking and transnational child abuse. 

For copies of the information, please write to ECPAT UK at Leaflets will soon be available on the ECPAT UK website. 


Copyright © ECPAT UK 2015.

Charity number: 1104948. Company Ltd by Guarantee: 5061385.
4A Chillingworth Road, London N7 8QJ. 
Tel: 020 7607 2136. Fax: 020 7700 5435.


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ECPAT UK is the leading expert voice on child trafficking in the UK and we offer a comprehensive training programme focused on safeguarding young people from trafficking, modern slavery, and transnational abuse. To find out more visit our training page

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