In today’s online world it’s important for parents and caregivers to recognise that when a child is given an electronic device or allowed to use a computer, mobile phone or tablet, they are being given opportunity to navigate the internet on their own terms.
That sense of digital freedom makes it very easy for children to create their own social media accounts and visit gaming platforms – sometimes without parents’ permission or knowledge.
Because online platforms or chatrooms don’t ask for any formal or legitimate identification it means anyone can join and create a profile – even if it is fake.
Fake profiles and accounts are usually created by those who want to exploit individuals – including children – online for personal or financial gain. It is these predators that exploit the fact that children and young people often use the internet as a meeting place to chat and game with friends they know and friends they don’t.
It is these ‘don’t’ friends that often pretend about who they are to meet and exploit young people into criminal acts, such as sending sexually explicit images and images of themselves online.
That’s why we want parents and caregivers to know how they can keep their children safe online and children to know how to navigate the internet carefully. That includes changing privacy settings on your kids’ devices to limit the opportunity for a sexual predator to contact your child and how to recognise the warning signs of unwanted contact.
Child sexual abuse material can be reported anonymously to the eSafety Commissioner at www.esafety.gov.au/reportillegalcontent
If you know or suspect someone is producing, downloading or sharing child sexual abuse material you can make a confidential report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at www.crimestopperssa.com.au