Awareness and understanding of the topic of online child sexual exploitation is critical in responding effectively to the issue and implementing prevention strategies.
Supervision for young children can be a significant factor for preventing unwanted contact and online grooming. Many incidents occur when a child is using the internet alone, without supervision. This could include:
- Uploading private information or images
- Making in-app purchases by mistake
- Engaging with online child sex offenders, in extreme cases.
Supervision can involve:
- Making sure a parent/carer is in the same room as their child, while they are online
- Not allowing devices to be used alone in a closed room, or after a certain time
- Having audio from online games played through speakers, so parents/carers can monitor the conversation
- Regular conversations and monitoring their child’s online activities.
Supervision is not only critical to prevent an incident occurring, but also for a trusted adult to provide help if something goes wrong. It is also important to make your child feel comfortable to approach you or another trusted adult if something isn’t right and help them deal with the issue, rather than focusing on the technology itself. Research suggests that children may be reluctant to come forward to their parents/carers for help with online situations if they believe they will be punished or have their device taken away.
To learn more about what you can do to help prevent online child sexual exploitation visit ThinkUKnow.org.au