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News from the field

UK: One child in five has met up with a chatroom stranger

Published on: 31.05.07
Source: Innocence in danger

One in five youngsters has met up with a stranger they first encountered online. And thousands more are giving out personal details that could leave them open to identity fraud.

The extent of the threat posed by booming Internet use among the young is revealed in a study of eight to 15-year-olds. The growing popularity of websites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo has made it far easier for paedophiles to prey on youngsters and many teenagers take huge risks on the web.

The survey, by the online data protection company Garlik, found that a fifth of children had arranged a meeting with someone they first chatted to online. One in 20 said they were doing this on a regular basis. But only 7 per cent of parents knew their children were meeting up with Internet friends.

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