Instagram is home to more sex offenders than any other online platform, according to the NSPCC.

Instagram

Instagram

The photo sharing app has been reported by the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) as being the number one online platform for sex offenders looking to groom children.

Police in England and Wales recorded 1,944 incidents of sexual communication with children in the six months to September 2018, and of the 1,317 of those incidents in which a method of communication was recorded, 32 percent of cases stemmed from Instagram.

Facebook was responsible for 23 percent, whilst Snapchat was home to 14 percent of the cases.

Sexual communication with a child became an offence in April 2017, following pressure from campaigners, and in the 18 months since the law was passed, more than 5,000 online grooming offences were recorded by police, according to data gathered by the NSPCC.

The charity has urged the government to "tame the Wild West Web" by bringing in regulation to protect children on social networks.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless told the BBC: "These figures are overwhelming evidence that keeping children safe cannot be left to social networks. We cannot wait for the next tragedy before tech companies are made to act."

The charity is pushing for statutory regulation to enforce a legal duty of care to children on social networks, with a penalty of substantial fines if they fail.

A National Crime Agency spokesperson said: "It is vital that online platforms used by children and young people have in place robust mechanisms and processes to prevent, identify and report sexual exploitation and abuse, including online grooming.

"Children and young people also need easy access to mechanisms allowing them to alert platforms to potential offending."