Turning off the internet at home is not an option for most as so much homework needs to be done online. Likewise, confiscating a child’s phone can present a risk as they will not be able to call for help if they get into trouble when out.

This is why The Daily Telegraph is today calling for a new statutory duty of care to be placed on social media and gaming companies – something that would force them to force them to take responsibility for protecting child users against known or foreseeable harms.

Mounting death toll

In the most extreme cases, children are being led to their deaths.

Breck Bednar, from Caterham in Surrey, was 14 when Lewis Daynes, an 18-year-old stranger, groomed him via an online gaming forum before luring him to his flat and slitting his throat in a fatal attack believed to be sexually motivated.

Kayleigh Haywood, from Measham in Leicestershire, was 15 when she was raped and murdered by Stephen Beadman, 29, after his friend Luke Harlow, 28, had groomed her via Facebook and SMS and lured her to his home.

And Felix Alexander, from Worcester, was 17 when he took his own life after suffering seven years of cyberbullying on social media.





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