ONLINE SAFETY: Parents are urged to be aware of what their children are doing online.
ONLINE SAFETY: Parents are urged to be aware of what their children are doing online. Brett Wortman

Parents urged to be aware of their child's online activity

WHILE the internet is a great source of information for young people, social networking sites can bring trouble from cyberbullying to exposure to predators.

Minister for Police and Corrective Services Mark Ryan joined the Queensland Police Service this morning to deliver an important message to all parents, caregivers and educators as part of Safer Internet Day.

"The investigators within Queensland Police Service's Argos and child protection officers across the state do a job not many of us could. They investigate internet-facilitated crimes against children,” Minister Ryan said.

"Over the years, the team has seen the worst crimes and witnessed these atrocities captured across hundreds and thousands of images and videos. They have seen the pain, the trauma and the suffering.

"They have seen it all.

"But that's their job and I would be joined by many people in suggesting the world is a better place because of people like them.

"It is because of their sheer hard work and dedication that so many children across the world have been removed from harm and saved from the hands of those who commit these most horrible acts.”

Minister Ryan said raising awareness amongst parents, caregivers and educators was an important part of Safer Internet Day.

"For us today, the message is clear and it is direct from the investigators who have seen it all,” he said.

Vikki Ryall, executive director of Clinical Practice at headspace suggested parents should actively engage in conversations with their children about their online use.

"Have regular, open conversations about what they are doing, what their experiences have been, and balancing their time online,” she said.

"Keeping conversations open can help parents identify when young people are experiencing difficulties online.”

According to Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, head of operations at State Crime Command's Argos, too many crimes started with a stranger requesting images or videos from a child online.

"A simple friend request on an app that facilitates communication can lead to a child chatting to strangers, the production and distribution of images and potentially, the child meeting up with their new 'friend',” he said.

"Despite all that we are doing at the front line to investigate and stop the sexual exploitation of children we are encountering spiralling volumes of self-produced images and videos in our digital seizures.”


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