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VIDEO: Keeping Kids Safe Online this Christmas

VIDEO: Keeping Kids Safe Online this Christmas

Published by the Pirate FM News Teamat 10:08am 9th December 2015.

Parents thinking about buying tablets and gaming devices for children this Christmas are being urged to read up on the risk of online grooming.

The NSPCC claims there has been an alarming rise in reported cases

ChildLine's latest figures show it carried out 378 counselling sessions that is an increase of 42 percent on the previous year.

The NSPCC said: "Online safety must be a priority for parents buying internet devices this Christmas

"We're warning parents to be aware of internet safety when buying Christmas gifts after our ChildLine service revealed a huge rise in contacts from children worried about online grooming.

"Girls appear to be particularly prone to being contacted on social networks, online game environments and other areas popular with children and young people. But boys could be less likely to report their experiences and seek help."

Children felt trapped and scared after being asked to:

    perform sexual acts on webcam
    send sexual images online
    meet up in person.

Often, those making these demands appear from their profiles to be the same or a similar age to the children targeted, but then turned out to be much older adults.

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive at the NSPCC added: "The internet offers an amazing environment for children to be creative, explore their interests, play with friends, learn or socialise, but there are risks every parent buying enabled devices this Christmas should be aware of."

The charity says it does not know how common grooming is because often children do not tell anyone what is happening to them. Children may not speak out because they are:

    ashamed
    feeling guilty
    unaware that they're being abused
    believe they are in a relationship with a 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend'.

However, the NSPCC says it does know that:

    465 contacts to ChildLine in 2014/15 mentioned grooming - over 80% of these were specifically related to online grooming (NSPCC, 2015)
    1,145 reports were made about online grooming to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) in 2012.

Over 90% of sexually abused children were abused by someone they knew

The NSPCC's tips to help keep children safe on the internet and social networks

Talking to your child is one of the best ways to keep them safe. You can also use parental controls on social networks, online games and browsers and on both hardware and software that can filter or monitor what your child can see.

Preventing your children from using the internet or mobile phones will not keep them safe in the long run, so it is important to have conversations that help your child understand how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable.

1. Have the conversation early and often
2. Explore online together
3. Know who your child is talking to online
4. Set rules and agree boundaries
5. Make sure that content is age-appropriate
6. Use parental controls to filter, restrict, monitor or report content
7. Check they know how to use privacy settings and reporting tools

Source: NSPCC

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