Help keep your children safe online by talking about the dangers of the internet, a charity boss has urged.

Sharon Copsey, the NSPCC’s regional head of service for south west England, spoke out after a 29-year-old woman was jailed for having sex with a 13-year-old boy she had met via Facebook.

Charlene Cole groomed the youngster online before meeting him at a Dorset beauty spot during the summer.

The boy’s mother discovered he had been abused after combing his tablet for clues when he disappeared.

Cole, who admitted sexual activity with a child under the age of 16, being an adult meeting a child after grooming and detaining a child unlawfully, was jailed for five years at Bournemouth Crown Court in December. 

She was also made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Ms Copsey said: “No-one can deny the online world is an excellent resource for children and young people, but along with the undoubted benefits of the internet come dangers that can pose a risk to a child at any time. 

“Children no longer just have access to the internet through a desktop computer at home – they have mobile phones, laptops and tablets. 

“It means when abuse happens online, it can feel like there’s no escape for the child. 

“As fast as parents can find solutions, the internet changes and presents more problems.”

The NSPCC has released the Net Aware guide to offer parents support and advice on keeping their children safe online.

“Preventing children from using the internet or mobile phones won’t keep them safe in the long run – they’ll still find a way to get online,” Ms Copsey said. 

“It’s important to talk to them and help them understand how to keep themselves safe.

“There’s a lot to discuss so it’s easier to have conversations little and often, rather than trying to cover it all at once. As children get older, how they use the internet will also change. It’s important for parents to keep talking to them. Having the right information will parents and other adults feel confident and in control.”