Police are warning parents to be cautious if their children are using internet web cam sites.
The warning comes after a Sussex teenager was coerced into performing a sex act on camera.
The 14-year-old girl was encouraged to perform the act on camera by an older man and police are now investigating.
The victim started chatting to a man who threatened to upload the webcam footage on the internet if she didn’t do what he said.
Detective Constable Paul Tonks said, “There are now sites that allow people to log on for free and only have to register a temporary username. Then there are literally thousands of webcams broadcasting all manner of activity from around the world. Such sites, which do not have many regulations, are increasingly popular with teenagers.
“It is very easy to link to a chat site that skirts around the criteria that parents expect to be in place in their child-friendly software.”
DC Tonks said, “We are warning the public, particularly young people, about the dangers of such sites because you just don’t know who you are talking to.
“With no administrators or regulators, there is no one to complain to. With technology more concerned with fast transmission than safe moderation or record-keeping, there’s nothing to use and trace an offender.
“That doesn’t mean people should not bother reporting internet-based offences to the police however. Not all sites operate the same.
“The message remains the same as always - just to be aware as much you can about what your children are accessing on-line.”