The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has shared that tens of thousands of online grooming crimes have been recorded and the numbers have increased by more than 80% in the last four years.

Grooming is the act of building a relationship with a young person so the perpetrator can manipulate and abuse the victim. In the UK, there have been more than 34,000 offenses since 2017 according to data from 41 UK police forces. This increased rate of online grooming cases is concerning to society.

Real Research, an online survey app, shared a survey on grooming cases increasing in the UK to hear the public’s opinion.


  • Tech companies should access the content of private messages if child safety is concerned, said 92%
  • More than half (58.31%) believed MPs’ decision will be in favor of the Online Safety Bill.
  • 68.13% anticipated lower rates of online grooming cases if the MPs passed the bill.

A High Number of Online Grooming Cases

The number of online grooming cases involving children has risen exponentially in recent years. The NPSCC says 34,000 online grooming crimes have been recorded by the UK police forces since 2017. When we asked the public, 56.89% were aware of this and 43.11% weren’t aware.

Campaigners are urging tech companies and UK members of the Parliament to back the Online Safety Bill. The bill aims to crack down on illegal content and was expected to become law in autumn but has faced repeated delays and changes.

Among the proposed rules in the bill is one that states tech companies should be able to access the content of private messages within their applications if there is a child safety concern. A statement that 55.43% strongly agreed with, 36.57% agreed to it, only 6.14% somewhat disagreed, and 1.86% strongly disagreed.

Figure 1: Tech companies should be able to access the content of private messages if there is a child safety concern. Do you agree with this particular rule proposed?

Tech Companies Fight Back

Some tech companies argue that this law will risk the privacy of their applications. Kate Robertson, a senior research associate at an organization where researchers study security on the internet, said that “we shouldn’t be drilling more holes in internet safety.”

More than half disagreed with the tech companies that said making messaging accessible would make the platform less secure as 55.58% said that these platforms should allow access if there is a child safety concern. 44.42% differed and said messages platforms shouldn’t allow access nevertheless.

Most of the grooming cases in the UK, according to research by the NSPCC, involved either Snapchat or Meta-linked platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp. According to our survey results, 22.28% believed that other platforms are where children are most at risk for grooming, 22.12% chose Instagram, Facebook by 21.45%, Snapchat by 17.58%, and 16.57% said that Whatsapp is where children are most at risk.

Figure 2: In your opinion, which of the following platforms do you think children are most at risk for grooming?

MPs Decision and its Effectiveness

The Online Safety Bill is expected to come out in September. UK’s MPs are going to make the final decision and 58.31% believed that the decision will be in favor of the bill while 41.69% saw the opposite.

The UK’s Online Safety Bill is an attempt to make the internet safer for children and young people. It attempts to crack down on illegal content and minimize the harmful content that children might encounter. Harms include online harassment, child sexual abuse materials, and content that glorifies eating disorders.

The Online Safety Bill wants to make the UK “The safest place in the world to be online”, 68.13% anticipated lower rates of online grooming cases if the MPs passed the bill and 31.87% didn’t expect a change.

Figure 3: Do you anticipate lower rates of online grooming cases involving children?

Protecting children against any threats online is the main goal of the Online Safety Bill and the majority (78.01%) thought that the bill would be effective, 45.0% thought it would be somewhat effective and 33.01% thought it would be very effective. On the other hand, the efforts were deemed somewhat ineffective by 12.45%, very ineffective by 2.75%, and 6.79% weren’t sure of the effectiveness.


Survey TitleSurvey on Grooming Cases Increasing in the UK
DurationAugust 20 – August 27, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.