Two Hartlepool primary schools have sent out a text alert to warn parents about paedophiles targeting young children on Instagram.
West Park Primary, in Coniscliffe Road, Hartlepool, fired out the warning saying it has been informed a ‘paedophile ring’ has been trying to contact children in the Hartlepool area by sending friend requests on the social media website.
A parent brought to our attention wholly unacceptable Instagram messages which would appear to be targeting young childrenMandy Hall, West Park Primary School headteacher
Lynnfield Primary School in the town’s Grosvenor Street has also shared the same message with parents of its children.
Police have confirmed they are also investigating a report of indecent messages sent to a child in Hartlepool through a social media site two weeks ago.
Mandy Hall, headteacher of West Park Primary School, said: “A parent brought to our attention wholly unacceptable Instagram messages which would appear to be targeting young children.
“The safety of our children is a top priority for the school so we took the decision to make all parents aware via a text message.
“The school has immediately notified the police.”
The text message received by parents said: “We have been informed a peadofile (sic) ring have been sending friend requests to children in the area via Instagram.” It goes on to give two account names said to be sending the inappropriate friend requests.
Instagram lets users share photos they take on their mobile phones with friends through social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Like Facebook, users should be at least 13 to be able to join.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Cleveland Police can confirm that a report was received regarding indecent messages being sent to a child through a social media site on Wednesday, June 29.
“Inquiries are ongoing in relation to this incident.
“With regards to online safety on social media, police would always advise parents to check the security settings on any devices and social media applications that their child is signed up to.
“More information regarding online safety can be found on the Cleveland Police website.”