DISCOVERING your child has been targeted online by a paedophile is every parent's nightmare.

But it was the shocking reality for a mum whose 12 year-old daughter was sent vile sexual images, including of another child being raped.

The mum, who we have not named to protect hers and her child's identity, shared chilling details of the moment she made the discovery, earlier this week.

Describing it as "quite possibly the scariest moment of my parenting life", the woman, in a bid to raise awareness, explained how she looked at her daughter's phone after they had argued about her helping out at home.

She said: "I checked it to find 60 to 80 indecent images that had been sent to her and she had screenshot.

"She blocked him but unfortunately she didn’t report it or tell me."

Despite this, the daughter, who attends Colne Community School and College, Brightlingsea, had fortunately made the screenshot following advice from the Two Johns, a male duo who deliver internet safety awareness sessions in schools.

The mum said the images had been sent to her daughter's Instagram account and she had started a live video with the man.

"Her account is private but one of her friends who commented isn’t - so it opens it publicly.

"This paedo commented saying she was "beautiful" etc, so they ended the live video.

"By then he was able to private message her and send cartoon sex pictures."

The man then sent the girl indecent pictures including pornographic material.

The mum said: "When she said she was 12 he sent real photos of an 11 year-old being raped.

"He also called her from Instagram.

"I called the police and the phone has gone to child sex offence and online sex offence [teams] to be analysed.

"Hopefully it’s attached to a real person and they get the 'sicko' - I reiterate her account was private and she in no way encouraged him.

"Please be aware of what happens online."

Essex Police women interviewed the girl and detectives should be able to trace the man - whose profile showed he was following a number of young girls - to an internet provider address.

A spokesperson said: "We were called to an address in Clacton following reports of sexual communication with a child.

"Officers spoke to the victim and our enquiries are ongoing."

The mum praised the work of the Two Johns who delivered the course at the girl's school.

"If it wasn't for them she wouldn't have known to screen grab. Because it was a live video, as soon as it is gone, it is gone."

She added: "She didn't want her phone to be taken away from her so she thought she would deal with it herself. She does say she would tell me the next day but was finding a way to broach the subject."

She said her daughter will still be allowed to use the internet as she did not want to punish her but she will not be allowed to communicate via live videos.

The Two Johns, real names John Woodley and John Staines, are qualified police trainers who deliver their EST E Safety sessions in schools.

John Woodley, a retired Essex detective sergeant, said he was pleased the girl remembered their advice by taking a screen grab.

He added: "But the point to pick out from it, what she didn't do, is the next key step to tell her parents.

"At the end of the day the police now have got the evidence.

"What often goes wrong is parents will find something and instantly block the person and then call the police."

Mr Woodley said this is effectively like cleaning at home after you have been burgled.

The Two Johns launched their safety awareness business in 2013 and the aim of the school events is to change adults' perspectives of what our children's lives look like online.

Over the last three years they have also been key speakers at numerous events including Essex headteachers' and safeguarding conferences.

Importantly they also run parents' sessions in the evenings after speaking to pupils and teachers at schools in the day, so everyone shares the same knowledge.

Mr Woodley added: "We say it is all about revisiting the 'stranger danger story', where a stranger offers a child a sweet.

"In the modern world, that is irrelevant. Youngsters now have tablets. When things go wrong, kids won't go to mum and dad because worry they are going to be told off and have the device taken away."

Demand for the safety sessions has increased too.

"We are working every single day.

"It [online grooming] has got worse but the reason it has go worse is the age limits have dropped.

"Five years ago it was secondary kids, today most kids being targeted are 13 or under."

UK figures from the Internet Watch Foundation show 98 per cent of victims groomed via live streaming are children aged 13 or under.

Ninety-six per cent of those are girls and 96 per cent of the grooming happens in their home environment when they are alone.

Child protection charity the NSPCC has also just released findings of its survey of nearly 40,000 children, aged seven to 16, about the risks they face when using the internet.

It revealed an average of one child per primary school class surveyed has been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image online from an adult.

One in 50 school children surveyed sent a nude or semi-nude image to an adult.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive said: "Grooming can no longer be shrugged off as secondary to other online crimes.

"It is happening now, it is happening to very young children, it is happening so frequently that it's becoming normalised, and it is not only coming from adult strangers, but also from known adults. Social networks have become a gateway for child abuse.

"The NSPCC has launched a petition calling on Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright and Home Secretary Sajid Javid to put an end to the Wild West Web.

"We need tough regulation of social networks to make sure there are fundamental protections for children in place whatever sites they’re using.”