The number of elementary school children who became victims of crimes through using social media in 2023 totaled a record 139, National Police Agency data showed Thursday.

The number of victims, up 25 from the year before, has grown fivefold in the past decade. Police are calling for the appropriate use of smartphones and the internet.

Of the total, 72 involved cases of child sexual abuse material, 23 of nonconsensual sexual intercourse, 19 of nonconsensual indecency, 12 of violations of youth protection and development ordinances, 11 of kidnapping, one of child prostitution and one of illegal demands for meetings.

Ninety-four victims made the first social media post in interactions that led to them becoming acquainted with suspects. Of them, 67 made posts about hobbies, daily life, wishing to make new friends including in online games and other matters that seemed unlikely to lead to crimes.

Most of the posts were made on Instagram and TikTok. There were many crimes linked to online games as well.

The number of victims below the age of 18 fell 3.9% to 1,665, including 748 junior high school students and 713 high school students.

Of them, a record 225 victims were involved in serious crimes, up 42.4%. The numbers for nonconsensual sexual intercourse and kidnapping victims came to 96 and 95, respectively.