Nicola, 37, of Norfolk, describes the moment she found her child had been exposed to more online than she'd bargained for. We ask the experts how parents should respond when this happens.
“Recently we were in a restaurant, having Sunday lunch with friends. There were lots of kids in our party, but our three-year-old daughter was struggling to join in with their game and was a little tearful, so my husband put her favourite cartoon on YouTube to comfort and distract her.
“She was wearing her headphones to listen along, but sitting right on his knee at the table, so we felt like she was safe. My husband had his arm round her, and was chatting to a friend over her head. Suddenly, he looked down and grabbed the phone out of her hands.
“I’ve no idea how, but while he’d been chatting, the content had moved on from the official episode he’d picked for her. On the screen was a new, home-made video, in the style of her cartoon, with the same familiar characters, but cast in a twisted horror story. When we listened back to it, there was scary music and screaming.
“Our daughter seemed unfazed by the video; in fact she was more upset that we had taken the phone away so abruptly. She cried and couldn’t understand why one minute we had allowed her to watch her show, and then the next minute we had suddenly changed our minds.
“We hope she’s simply too young, and didn’t see enough of the video to have taken it in. But we were really shaken. And I can’t help worrying if – in the 15 minutes or so that she was in front of the phone – she may have seen other violent or lewd knock-offs with more troubling imagery and language.”