Culture Secretary Karen Bradly has announced a new Internet Safety Strategy designed to make Britain the safest place in the world for children to access and use the internet.

Announcing the initiative, Ms Bradley said: “The internet has provided young people with amazing opportunities but has also introduced a host of new dangers which children and parents have never faced before.

Sexting is now a bigger concern for parents than smoking or alcohol abuse, according to a survey conducted by the NSPCC last September.

In the survey, nine out of ten parents said that schools needed to do more to educate children on the dangers of sending revealing images. 78% were either ‘fairly concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about sexting, compared with 69% about alcohol misuse and 67% about smoking.

Figures also revealed that over 2,000 children had been reported to the police over indecent images. Most were thought to be young people sending the images to boyfriends and girlfriends, though some involved child abuse. Although in most cases the images are meant to be private, many end up being shared, either around peers, often resulting in considerable embarrassment to the subject, sometimes with tragic consequences. Others fall into the hands of paedophiles.