Parents have been offered advice from an internet child abuse expert with Essex Police.

Det Sgt John Woodley, from the police online investigation team, believes primary school children in Essex need to be aware of online stranger danger with children being groomed daily.

He recommended parents visit for top tips to keep your children safe.

He said: “Unfortunately online incidents are not rare. People are aware of it and a lot more resources are being put into investigating it because it is happening every day.

“The important thing is getting the message across to children early.

“In the past we were talking to secondary schools but it needs to start earlier in primary schools for instance eight and nine-year-olds who are actively engaged in online gaming.”

Essex Police have mounted 231 investigations into online images of child sex abuse in the past year.

The figures, released by the NSPCC, show just how many predatory paedophiles are using the internet.

The county now has 20 officers dedicated to online investigations.
Since the team was set up in 2009, it has convicted or cautioned 195 offenders, with more investigations ongoing.

It also works to educate children and their parents about using the internet safely.

Det Sgt Woodley added: “In this day and age the stranger danger conversation is needed earlier.”

He said the aim is not to scare or punish children, many of whom won’t tell adults what is happening for fear of losing internet privileges, but children need to be aware of the dangers as well as the benefits of the internet.