HALF of parents do not know it is illegal for a child to take nude selfies, a children’s charity has revealed.

The NSPCC says while two out of five parents fear their children will be involved in ‘sexting’, most have not spoken to them about the risks.

Almost all of the 1,000 parents interviewed by the charity said they saw ‘sexting’ as harmful – with a quarter saying their main concern was about their child losing control of the image.

In the last year, the numbers of children counselled by Childline about ‘sexting’ have risen 15 per cent to almost 1,400 – around four a day.

The NSPCC is urging all parents to get its latest advice so they will know what to do if their child has shared an explicit image of themselves or another young person.

Sharon Copsey, regional head of service for South West England, said: “Sharing nude selfies can put young people at risk of bullying by peers or being targeted by adult sex offenders, so it’s vital that parents talk to their children and that young people feel empowered to say no to sexting requests.

“We realise that talking about sexting can be an embarrassing or awkward conversation for both parents and children. And although most parents said they would seek help if an indecent image of their child had been shared on the internet, half of them weren’t confident about getting the right support.”

The NSPCC helpline regularly hears from parents worried about their children getting involved in sexting.

One mum said: “I’ve just found out my daughter has been sent some nude selfies on this instant messaging app. She had been speaking to these people and they started sending her inappropriate images and asked her to send them things.”

James*, 17, who called Childline after becoming a victim from ‘sexting’, said he and his friends talk “very openly about sexting” and their relationship experiences but added there were “definitely risks involved”.

“Someone saw a video message I had sent to a previous girlfriend, took a screenshot and posted it online. They called me a pervert and lots of people I knew saw it – it was clearly me pictured.

“I was completely devastated and, to be honest, almost suicidal. I got the picture taken down eventually but, by that stage, people had ‘unfriended’ me and the damage was done.”

For help and advice, visit nspcc.org.uk/sexting.

*real name changed