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Sussex Police warning over online abuse
Schoolgirls as young as 12 have sent indecent images of themselves to adults after being approached via social networking sites.
Police and schools have now issued an urgent warning after at least one girl sent explicit images of her body to a man who encountered her via instant messaging site Kik.
The man then encouraged the girl to meet him in Brighton.
Thankfully she refused and Sussex Police were informed.
They are now investigating the matter.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We have had reports children in West Sussex are being approached by adults online while they are using a social messaging system called Kik.
“The young people can download Kik for free to their iPhone or Android phone and make contact with people around the world.
“Girls as young as 12 have been persuaded to send indecent images of themselves after being befriended by people claiming to be older teenagers, who have also encouraged the children to meet them in person.
“It is unclear how old those who have been approaching the children really are or whether they have asked for the images for their own entertainment or to pass among others.
“We are concerned they may pose a risk to children.
“I would urge parents to speak to their children to warn them about the dangers of making friends online, sending indecent images of themselves and in particular, agreeing to meet people who they have only met online.”
Thomas a Becket Middle School, one of the schools affected said in a letter to parents: “As you know at Thomas a Becket we take e-safety very seriously.
"It has recently been brought to our attention that a number of incidents have occurred on the instant messaging service Kik.
“There has been an incident of an unknown adult posting indecent images to students at the school.
“These incidents should always be reported to the police, who said they are currently receiving a substantial number of these complaints.
"We would always encourage parents to discuss safe use of connected technology, as we do at school, with their children.
"Should we be made aware of any e-safety incident we will inform the parents of the children involved immediately.”
On Friday the school did not respond to requests for interviews.
Anyone who has any information about adults contacting children online inappropriately should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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