Dont leave it to technology to look after your kids

17th June 2013 staplefordcommunitygroup Help & Advice, Police Alerts, Update & Messages. Tags: , 0 Comments

Parents are being urged to take an interest in what their children are doing on the internet to protect them from online predators.

A combination of factors can lead to children being at risk from online grooming and parents are key in helping to protect them by becoming involved in their online lives. 

To hit the message home, Nottinghamshire Police has produced a postcard-sized leaflet for parents to highlight the risks their children may be facing.

Offenders target children online – often hiding behind a fake identity – and once initial contact is made, it can escalate into threats and intimidation. 

And once that person has taken hold, children may feel ashamed that they lost control and can become desperate or even suicidal.
According to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), there were 1,145 public reports in 2012 relating to incidents of online grooming.

Factors which make children vulnerable to online abuse when combined with frequent internet access:
• Personal issues such as low self-esteem, confusion about their sexuality and loneliness
• Social isolation perhaps through problems/dissatisfaction at school with limited support from their peer group or family
• Lack of parental monitoring or involvement in online activities; coupled with factors such as family problems  

Adolescents who take risks online by having sexualised chats or exchanging sexual images are particularly prone to the increasingly sophisticated, coercive and sinister tactics of online predators. And given that six out of 10 12 to 15-year-olds have a smart phone, it is easier for them to communicate with strangers and share images on the move.

However, CEOP says that children whose internet activities are monitored and who talk with their parents about staying safe online are better protected and more resilient to the tactics used by online offenders.

Detective Inspector Martin Hillier said: “Just because your kids are in the house doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe from people who want to manipulate them – particularly if the child is vulnerable. 

“What we don’t want is to scare parents into thinking that their children will fall prey to these people. The aim is to raise awareness so that parents feel comfortable to talk with their children about the dangers and help them to spot anything amiss and report it.

“There’s no doubt that the internet is a great asset and young people are often the ones most tuned in to advances in technology – the trick is to also ensure they are in possession of all the information they need to stay safe.”

For more information for parents, carers, teachers and young people, visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk
To report anything suspicious online call police on 101. Dial 999 in an emergency.

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