Online paedophiles are abandoning known grooming practices and striking up highly sexualised conversations with their prey within just two minutes, a new study has warned.
The internet has become so awash with potential victims that sexual predators are now making an immediate pass at children and simply moving on to the next one if unsuccessful.
They are also branching out into gaming platforms, such as Xbox Live, to target youngsters, particularly boys.
The worrying findings have emerged from a study of the chat logs of convicted paedophiles and interviews with sex offenders in the UK, Belgium and Norway.
"It is clear that the conversation between an online offender and a child can now become sexualised within two minutes," the Daily Mail quoted Julia Davidson, one of the study's authors from Kingston University as saying.
"During our interviews, offenders said they didn't need to bother with a grooming process when they could immediately ask children for sex or to meet so they could abuse them," she said.
The researchers found that many offenders spent up to six hours a day on "fishing trips" where they would pepper hundreds of children until they found one willing to interact with them.
"On social networking sites, if the child does not respond, the offender will simply move on to the next one," she said.
Although there was still evidence of a longer-term grooming approach in some cases, the final outcome of online sexualised chat was often a physical meeting.
These took place at hotels, car-parks, parks, bus stops or even in the offender or victim's bedroom.
"Sometimes offenders have several children on the go at once, with paedophiles assuming several different identities.
"They keep across many different conversations and keep meticulous notes on each child in a very calculating way," Davidson added. (ANI)