Remember, the internet is an essential part of young people’s lives and provides them with tremendous opportunities. The vast majority use it without coming to any harm so it’s essential to be realistic: banning the internet or web sites often will not work and it can make a child feel less able to report a problem or concern, so education around safe use is essential.
There has been a recent increase in reports to Derbyshire police of children talking to and exchanging pictures with strangers online. Videochat websites and apps like Skype, Instagram, Omegle, Oovoo, Kik, and others, allow children to talk and exchange pictures on tablets and Smartphones or via a webcam. Whilst talking on webcam with known and trusted friends and family can be fun and exciting, children can be at risk of bullying and also abuse. Children and young people sharing pictures and videos online are vulnerable to exploitation. This can happen in the following way:
This has happened to young people and is being reported in Derbyshire and nationally with children of both Primary and Secondary school age. This is sexual abuse.
When a child tells a parent they have experienced on or offline sexual abuse parents should react calmly and always:
If you are worried that your child is at risk of harm or a criminal offence has been committed then you can report your concerns to Derbyshire Police. For further advice visit www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety, www.childnet.com, www.internetmatters.org.uk or www.thinkuknow.co.uk , our school website or talk to Shane Worrall, DSO or Helen Vladimirovs, Deputy DSO.