Wednesday 04 January 2012
GO ONLINE IN 2012 AND HAVE FUN - BUT THINK SAFETY FIRST
With more than 1,000 reports a month from the public and industry, including around a quarter relating to online grooming, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is urging parents to help in keeping their children safe in 2012.
CEOP’s reports can involve internet abuse, making arrangements to meet a child online or a child in immediate danger.
The New Year will see more and more children go online, many for the first time using Christmas gifts of laptops, games consoles or mobile phones.
The internet is essential for the UK’s children, with latest OFCOM findings revealing that 95 per cent of 12-15 year olds now have internet access at home through a PC or laptop (up from 89 per cent in 2010). Over two in five 12-15’s have a smartphone, with social networking one of the most popular activities, undertaken by 50% of teen smartphone owners on a regular basis. Yet many children and young people still go online, without thinking about the consequences of their actions.
Peter Davies, CEO of CEOP and ACPO lead for child protection commented:
“The internet offers some fantastic opportunities for young people to learn, socialise with friends and explore their interests. All we are saying is have fun online and enjoy the benefits the internet can bring, but in these early stages we ask parents to talk to their child and make sure their online safety is built in to everything they do. Every day we see the effects on children’s lives when things do go wrong, so please work with us to keep our children safe and empower them to know what o do if things go wrong”
Giving out too much personal information, posting inappropriate photos and comments and befriending people they don’t know in the real world can put children at risk of bullying, or even contact, from people who may cause them harm. The effects can be and often are devastating.
In the same way children should be wary of unwanted approaches from strangers in the real world, they should also be careful if approached in the online world. The anonymity of the internet can encourage children and young people to take risks or act in a way they would not normally - this can make them vulnerable to people who wish them harm so they need to think carefully about what they are doing online.
That’s why CEOP are today encouraging parents not to be intimidated by the technology or the risks children may face, which can often be the case in stopping parents from talking to their children. They can find up-to-date advice and guidance on CEOP’s website – www.thinkuknow.co.uk – a great place to get information on a range of issues, enabling parents to work through them with their children.
CEOP’s ClickCEOP button can be used by a young person or an adult on their behalf, to report any concerns or suspicious online behaviour of another user. All reports are sent straight to specially trained officers at CEOP and dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The button can be found on this website, as well as many other sites including MSN windows live messenger and within CEOP’s ‘ClickCEOP’ profile in Facebook.