The number of adults in Scotland targeting children with indecent communications online or via text has risen by 60 per cent, according to a charity.
Since the new law criminalising sending sexual messages to children came into force in 2010, the number of recorded offences has risen from 15 to more than 150.
Police Scotland figures show 103 instances of this type of offence were recorded in 2013-14, rising to 165 the following year.
The NSPCC said that in the past year 43 per cent of children calling ChildLine to report abuse were concerned about sexual abuse or online sexual abuse, 10,067 cases.
Matt Forde, head of service for NSPCC Scotland, said: “These figures confirm our fears that the internet is playing an increasing role in the sexual abuse of younger children in Scotland and across the UK as a whole.
“We welcome efforts by Police Scotland to tackle online sexual abuse. These figures show an increasing number of crimes are coming to the attention of the police and are being investigated. However, more needs to be done.”
The charity believes younger children are increasingly under threat from predatory adults, who often pose as children to make contact. Once they have established contact, it can lead to emotional pressure, threats and blackmail to perform sexual acts on webcams and phones.