CAMPAIGNERS fear the coronavirus pandemic has created a “perfect storm” for abusers to groom children as youngsters spend more time online.

The NSPCC has warned sexual abuse offenders could capitalise on where tech firms have scaled back on moderators who combat the abuse due to the pandemic.

The charity fears they will target children who are spending more time on the internet at home, and may be feeling increasingly lonely or anxious because of the lockdown.

The NSPCC is concerned conditions are “rife” to be exploited by abusers as social media companies sent outsourced moderators home and rely on artificial intelligence.

Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC, said: “The impact of the coronavirus lockdown has increased online risks and brewed a perfect storm for offenders to abuse children.

“The public health emergency is creating major challenges across society, and like all of us tech firms must adapt.

“It’s vital they set out how they are prioritising protecting children by identifying and disrupting offenders with fewer moderation resources available.

“Social media and gaming sites are proving to be a lifeline for parents and their children as they adapt to being at home, but we must also recognise there are heightened risks.

“It is more important than ever for parents to have regular conversations with their children about what they’re doing online and to reassure them they can come to you with any worries.”