The internet creates so many opportunities for our children to learn new things, keep in touch with family and friends, and connect with the world; but it also creates opportunities for online child predators. Police conduct regular online covert operations to target these predators, and find them operating in places like social media platforms, chatrooms, telecommunication platforms and online gaming sites.
Each year in NSW, police arrest and charge numerous people with online child exploitation offences, including transmitting indecent material, child grooming and procuring children for sexual activity. The portable nature of the internet, with smart phones and tablets, and the proliferation of public computers mean you can’t know what your kids are doing online all of the time, but you can help to keep your children safe. “Take an active interest in what your children are doing online and explain to them the dangers that can be associated with speaking to people they don’t know,” police say. “Spend time exploring the internet with your children; let them teach you about your favourite websites and be aware of how much time they spend online. “Make sure you can access your child’s email and social media accounts and randomly check the contents.” Importantly, you should let your children know that they can and should talk to you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable.
Police are asking all parents to talk to their children about the following safety tips:
* Do not send a picture of yourself to anyone you don’t know;
* Never give out your personal information, such as your name, home address, phone number or school to someone you don’t know;
* Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you have chatted to on the internet;
* Tell your parents or another adult you know if anything online makes you feel uncomfortable;
* Remember that pressing ‘send’ is final – you can’t get it back or take it down.
* If your child is approached online, report it to police immediately for investigation. If your child is approached online, report it to police immediately for investigation.