LBC exclusive: Children as young as eight posting racist abuse online

29 September 2021, 18:08 | Updated: 29 September 2021, 18:09

Children as young as eight post the abuse online
Children as young as eight post the abuse online. Picture: Alamy
Charlotte Lynch

By Charlotte Lynch

LBC can reveal children as young as eight have been racially abusing other children online.

Figures obtained by LBC show children have been behind as many as one in five racist messages reported to police so far this year.

Police forces in England and Wales, which responded to LBC, have already investigated more than 300 children for it in 2021, with four eight year olds identified as being behind the abuse in Yorkshire.

In West Yorkshire, an eight year old was reported to have used Snapchat to send racist abuse, in an incident which is also understood to have involved a 13 and 15 year old.

In Derbyshire, youngsters were alleged to have been behind the abuse of a Mansfield Town player.

Read more: Children could be at risk due to how Met investigates online child abuse - watchdog

Separately, a child allegedly used the N word towards another whilst playing an online video game.

Another victim was reported to have been targeted by a child using the N word in a blog post.

Records seen by LBC involving children under 10 resulted in no further action, because they are too young to be held criminally responsible.

The number of children investigated for online racism this year has risen by more than 100, compared to the first half of 2020.

Marsha Garratt, an anti-racism campaigner and educator from Middlesbrough, told LBC: "We need to look at what's in our education system, what's missing, and how we can use our education system to challenge racism.

"There are levels of denial within adults with regards to the reality of racism.

They say 'I don't really think it's that bad', or you get questioned, 'how do you know that was racist?'.

"When it comes to young people, their honesty, openness and the questions they ask shows a level of understanding".

Read more: Football fan avoids jail after being racist online about black England players

Klaire Heyliger works with young people in Leeds who have got in to knife crime, and told LBC she's seen rivalry begin with online racism.

"Whether it's violent or racial threats, children are using these platforms to do these things and parents don't know how to deal with it.

"Then you get children arming themselves just in case they get attacked, and they have something to defend themselves. They don't realise that having that could actually worsen the situation."

The issue of online racism was highlighted following England's defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, which saw black players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka targeted after missing penalties.

Social media users noted some of the racist comments on the footballers' social media posts appeared to be from users with no identity attached to their account, or who appeared to be children.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Sir Ian McKellen will not re-appear in West End play as veteran actor, 85, gives health update after falling from stage

Sir Ian McKellen will not re-appear in West End play as veteran actor, 85, gives health update after falling from stage

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Last person to speak to missing Jay Slater claims he has been kidnapped and ‘something sinister is going on’

Travis Scott

Travis Scott arrested for 'disorderly intoxication and trespassing'

Serbia threatens to quit Euros over Croatia and Albania fans' 'kill the Serbs' chanting - throwing England's group into chaos

Serbia threatens to quit Euros over Croatia and Albania fans' 'kill the Serbs' chants - throwing England's group into chaos

Nigel Farage described Just Stop Oil's latest stunt as 'appalling'

'Akin to domestic terrorism': Farage slams Just Stop Oil's latest 'appalling' stunts after Taylor Swift's jet targeted

Jennifer Kowalski and Cole Macdonald

Revealed: Eco-activists who targeted Taylor Swift's jet unmasked as ex-civil servant and Palestine protester

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Jay Slater, missing Brit in Tenerife, rang friend to say he'd 'cut his leg on cactus' and 'didn't know where he was'

Sir Ian McKellen is recuperating following a fall from the stage

Sir Ian McKellen to miss remainder of Player Kings’ London dates following fall

The Bank of England has given its latest updates on interest rates.

Blow for borrowers as Bank of England holds interest rates again at 5.25%

Two protesters bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint

Two eco-activists bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint as bosses say 'no visible damage' to monument

German police

'Isis terrorist sleeper agent' arrested in Germany near Euro 2024 host city

The court ruling could threaten the future of oil and gas projects.

Future of new oil and gas projects in UK thrown into doubt after landmark Supreme Court ruling

Arthur Pendragon has condemned the attack on Stonehenge

'Like targeting a cathedral': Britain's 'top druid' condemns Just Stop Oil's 'completely dismaying' Stonehenge attack

Just Stop Oil targeted Taylor Swift's jet in VIP airfield - but failed to find it

Just Stop Oil activists fail to find Taylor Swift's jet despite targeting it in VIP airfield attack

Laura Saunders, the Conservative candidate for Bristol North West

Tory candidate being investigated over alleged election date bet is 'married to Conservative Director of Campaigns'

Prince Andrew is planning to leave the Royal Lodge to his daughters Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, according to reports.

Prince Andrew ‘plans to leave Royal Lodge home’ to daughters Princess Beatrice and Eugenie ‘after his death’