Children in danger on web
A CHILD adds another friend on Facebook. A girl takes a photo of herself on her mobile phone and sends it to her boyfriend. A boy posts a photo of himself dressed in his school uniform on his social networking site.
Any of these scenarios could lead to a child being in danger from a sexual predator.
Task Force Argos, a state police initiative which investigates offences relating to organised child exploitation or crime involving internet pornography, is visiting Hervey Bay for a crime prevention conference.
Yesterday the task force paid a visit to Urangan State High School to spread its message of caution and vigilance when accessing the internet.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Butler, who is part of the task force, said that when it came to technology, kids probably knew more than their parents in some respects – but they were still often naive to the dangers they could face online.
“We try to educate them.
“Kids add more and more friends on their social networking sites. They are unaware of the potential dangers.”
Another issue that has been raised is that of children taking explicit images of themselves and sending them to others.
Det. Sgt Butler said that while the issue was of concern it could also be dangerous if the image were to fall into the hands of a child sex offender.
“We want to show kids how quickly they can lose control of images and pictures once they are transmitted,” he said.
The messages are backed up with videos which show kids various scenarios and what can result.
Det. Sgt Butler said the message wasn't just for kids but for parents as well.
“Supervising is the key.”
The aim of the session is also to educate kids on how easy it is for sexual predators to hunt them down.
A photo of the child in their school uniform that is posted online can give a sexual predator all the information they need on how to find and identify the child.
The task force held a session in Bundaberg this year and Det. Sgt Butler said many of the kids said they had taken down photos of themselves in their school uniforms and sport uniforms after hearing of the dangers.
The session also often includes taped interviews with child sex offenders that give insight into how they came in contact with their victims but the schools have refused showing it, Det. Sgt Butler said.
It will be shown for parents, however, at the crime prevention conference at the Hervey Bay Boat Club tomorrow.