Facebook has been criticised for its plans to further encrypt private messages.

More than 100 child-protection charities, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, are calling for the tech giant to re-consider the decision as they believe strengthening the ability to encrypt messages hides the activities sexual predators seeking to groom children online.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, already uses end-to-end encryption. This means the platform itself has no way of viewing or monitoring content on its site which also remains hidden from the police.

People in Nottingham agree that despite good awareness surrounding social media, efforts should be made to increase the safeguarding of children.

Video: We asked mums in Nottingham how they deal with social media at home.

Many believe Facebook owes it to its customers to wait until better safeguarding is available before strengthening its encryption.

Tips, from SafetyNetKids, for staying safe online:

1: Never post personal information! This includes your address and phone number.

2: Once a picture or video is posted, it’s there forever. That’s why you need to think before you post.

3: Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online.

Figures from the NSPCC suggest there were over 3,000 online grooming offences in England and Wales last year. Nearly a quarter of these cases involved children under 11.

Of nearly 2,100 cases of online grooming, 70% took place on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless has since said, “Social networks must be forced to design extra protections for children into their platforms, including algorithms to detect grooming to prevent abuse from escalating.”

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/news-opinion/3000-new-grooming-offences/

Spotting the signs of child abuse might sound impossible. That’s why the NSPCC have put together a guide what to look for, and how you can help.

Here are some common signs that a child may be suffering abuse in their life.

1: an unexplained change in behaviour or personality.

2: seeming withdrawn

3: becoming anxious or aggressive

Other things may be happening in a child’s life, if you are unsure or suspicious, you can get in touch with the NSPCC for advice.

For more information on staying safe online visit https://www.safetynetkids.org.uk/personal-safety/staying-safe-online/