Children have been sending intimate photographs using a popular app, Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker says.
Cocker told The AM Show the app, which he didn't want to name for fear of drawing attention to it, was designed to connect adults to other adults, but it is now connecting adults to young people.
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"Through that app you can essentially promote the sharing of those kinds of images. So there's a particular app but it's part of a wider problem obviously."
The app's original purpose was to set up a "sugar daddy" arrangement, where one half of a pair of adults is wealthy and pays for things for the other participant.
"You can look for someone with wealth, money and they'll pay you to do things, so young people are seeing the opportunity to get paid to do things."
Hawke's Bay children as young as eight-years-old have been found sharing naked photographs online, NZME reported last week.
Cocker said talking to kids about the issue is a challenge, but they need to be warned their actions will stick around for a long time.
"It's obviously shared amongst people peer to peer on phones, especially in school communities, more widely it goes up onto the mainstream websites, so Facebook and places like that.
"We can often have stuff that's offensive or harmful removed from those platforms but then there's a whole lot of websites where people post these sorts of things where we just have no ability to get it taken down and it lives there permanently."
Parents who want to keep an eye on their kids can install software on their computers to keep an eye on what they're doing. Cocker recommends considering it for kids in primary or intermediate, but speak to them about it first.
Once they get to teenagers things are a bit harder as they gain more independence.
"It is a complicated problem, it is a lot that they need to get their heads around and I don't want to pretend that it's easy," Cocker said.
"I mean I'm going to shorten everything down to soundbites when I'm here with you but the reality is it's a complicated task for parents."
Netsafe has produced a guide for parenting, which Cocker told The AM Show goes over the detail of keeping kids safe on the internet.