Rise in Sex Offenders using Live Streaming Platforms

Rise in Sex Offenders using Live Streaming Platforms

Parents who’ve attended my events will know the importance of education when it comes to Online Safety.  It’s as important as road safety. 

With technology changing and developing rapidly and new social media platforms and smartphone apps launching constantly, it’s crucial nowadays that Parents keep themselves up to date and involve themselves in their childrens online life.

We work hard to keep up with the ever changing world of social media and the internet to keep parents informed through school talks, via our online safety blog, vodcasts, Facebook posts and  videos.  The use of live streaming platforms and apps is something which has been on the rise for a few years now with young people with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, lively.ly and YouNow, among many others all offering some form of live streaming feature. 

There’s also been an unsurprising but worrying increase in the use of live streaming platforms by online sex offenders – highlighting the urgent need to educate children about the risks associated with one of this generations of children’s greatest threat. 

According to National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Child Protection. Chief Constable Simon Bailey ‘In just one week, police forces and the NCA arrested 192 offenders on suspicion of child sexual abuse offences and prevented 245 children from coming to harm.  We will keep working together to do this, adapting our approach so that nowhere online is safe for people out there to groom children or view them being abused’. 

Chief Constable Bailey went on to ask parents for their support ‘But we also need help.  We need Internet companies to help us stop access to abuse images and videos and prevent abuse happening on their platforms.  We need parents and carers to talk to their children about healthy relationships and staying safe online’.

Head of Safeguarding for the NCA Zoe Hilton ‘We know that as children’s online habits change, offenders are adapting with them.  These individuals are learning how young people communicate online and are using this knowledge to contact, befriend and abuse them’.

Today, 5th December 2017, sees the launch of a new campaign by the NCA and National Police Chiefs Council to help parents protect their children against this threat and encourage parents and guardians to talk to their child about the behaviours that could put them at risk when using live streaming platforms. 

Intelligence from the NCA and police forces shows that dangerous offenders are capitalising on the immediacy of contact that live streaming offers, as well as targeting children with a large number of comments in real time. 

Offenders can use tricks or dares, offer online gifts or ‘game points’ in an attempt to manipulate young people into performing acts involving nudity over webcam.

What Parents can do

It may be cliché but – Be.Involved.Online. It’s more important than ever to parent in this area. 

Chat regularly about what your child is doing and playing online. Make it fun, get them to show you how games and apps work.  Stay up to date. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Read my blogs and listen to the videos.  They’re condensed, jargon-free, practical and most importantly – SHORT – for all you busy parents.  There’s also a wealth of other great support out there online.

You don’t need to be an expert, just to get more informed. That information may just be enough to protect your child from someone who does not have their best interests at heart.

Remember there are a lot of adults online. So you need to know where your kids are when they’re online and who they’re talking to.  Many kids are spending more time online than they are outside. Rightly or wrongly it’s happening. This is where they socialize. They need to know what is acceptable and what isn’t, respect boundaries set by you and most importantly know they can come to you when they experience something that upsets them or is a risk.

As they grow older it’s key that they have an online/offline life balance.  They need to develop functional and productive digital skills and develop critical thinking online to protect themselves and navigate the digital world safely and constructively.  Parents may not equip their children with technical knowledge but they are responsible for applying knowledge and understanding to life experiences and helping children and young people learn who they can trust offline and online.

View #WhoIsSam here. For more informion on the NCA and the campaign please visit Think You Know

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