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Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
UK News

Churches have a "fantastic opportunity" to protect kids amid increasing online abuse figures, says charity

Trolling on the internet study*

- Conducted by the UK Safer Internet Centre
- 1,500 young people aged between 13 and 18 surveyed
- One in 25 said they are singled out for abuse "all or most of the time"
- More than four in five (82%) youngsters have seen or heard "online hate" in the previous year
- 24% reported they were targeted on the internet because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or transgender identity

*The UK Safer Internet Centre

Youth groups are being urged to talk about the issue on International Safer Internet Day, as figures reveal 8 out of 10 teenagers claim to have either witnessed or heard online abuse in the last year.

The survey of 13-18-year-olds also revealed 1 in 4 reported being targeted themselves on things like social media, games or instant messaging.

The report also found young people were targeted by so-called internet trolls over their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or disability.

Safer Internet Day is being used to highlight both the advantages and the dangers of internet use to children, and churches are being encouraged to review their policies and advice for protecting them online.

Justin Humphreys, from the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service, told Premier: "Churches engage with more children and young people than any other collective of organisations outside of education.

"So, we have a fantastic opportunity to raise questions [and] to have helpful discussions.

"Sadly, the internet does have a dark side.

"We hear about how the dark, or the hidden internet, is being used and misused by those that might seek to harm children and young people.

"So, we always need to be aware that is the case."

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