Children as young as one are vulnerable to sexual abuse from online pedophiles. New figures found that more than 3,000 sex crimes have been carried out against children in a year.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, or NSPCC, said police in England and Wales recorded a total of 3,186 sex crimes against youngsters. Majority of the victims were 13 years old, but 272 were under 10 and the youngest target was one-year-oldDaily Mail reported.

The numbers released by NSPCC mean that eight sex crimes are being committed by online pedophiles each day. These sexual predators use sophisticated methods on the internet by grooming victims “before abusing them offline, or live-streaming the abuse,” the news outlet further reported.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC’s chief executive officer, said online pedophiles pose as children to blackmail the youngsters into meeting them or performing provocative and sexual acts on webcams. With the internet’s worldwide reach, online pedophiles can target hundreds of unsuspecting children at a time.

Warnings Issued

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said NCPCC’s figures “may be just the tip of the iceberg” given that youngsters seldom open up if they are being abused, the news outlet noted. This is because they are afraid of the consequences or because they cannot explain and comprehend their experiences yet.

The internet has become a staple in the lives of children, but their parents and guardians should be responsible for teaching its consequences. Youngsters shouldn’t be hesitant when it comes to reporting suspicious behaviors of the people they interact with virtually. Offline or online abuses both have damaging effects to a child if recovery therapy wasn’t done.

According to Wanless, the NSPCC is hoping that the recent records of online sex abuses will push police to toughen up their resources and training. He also urged the government to ensure that mental health care will be given to children who suffered abuses.

Online Sextortion

Online sexual predators also practice online sextortion, or online sexploitation, to blackmail children and teenagers into sending explicit photos and videos. The victims are being forced by sexual predators into sending explicit or nude photos and videos, which were then used to blackmail the victims into sending more inappropriate content.

That kind of intimidation can last for weeks, months and even years, cyber security expert Fred Lane said, ABC News reported. Lynne Owens, the head of Britain’s National Crime Agency, said online pedophilia and online sexual abuse has become so huge that internet users could simply be tasked to attend counseling if they are found guilty of looking at low-level child abuse photographs and videos, according to The Australian.

PARENTHERALD: Online Pedophiles Use The Internet To Sexually Abuse Children As Young As One