This Safer Internet Day, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) is proud to support the eSafety Commissioner’s campaign encouraging parents and carers to start the chat with their children about online safety.
Every day, investigators from Argos – the QPS’s specialist unit investigating internet-facilitated child exploitation – see the prevalence of this global crime, including cases where children have been tricked or blackmailed into taking and sending sexual images of themselves even when their parents are at home.
In a video released today, QPS officers explain why it is important we all play our part in online safety, sharing examples based on real-life situations of just how quickly child sex offenders can exploit children online.
Argos Detective Inspector Doug Lawlor encourages parents and carers to stay connected to their children’s online lives and consider where in the home children are allowed to use Internet-connected devices.
“We’ve seen in new eSafety research figures today that the number of children contacted by strangers has risen from one in four to nearly one in three, which really hits home why it is so important for parents to continue educating themselves about online risks and talk about it regularly with the family,” Detective Inspector Lawlor said.
Argos investigator Detective Senior Constable Phil Williamson, who features in the video, said unfortunately there is an increase in self-produced online child exploitation material.
“We know online child sex offenders go to extreme and manipulative lengths to access self-produced material from children, so we urge parents and carers to talk with their kids about what might happen and who might see if they click that button or share an image or video online,” Detective Senior Constable Williamson said.
Acting Sergeant Paul Bagnall, who delivers safety messages as part of his crime prevention role, said children should be encouraged to talk to their family or a trusted adult about any issues they are facing.
“There should be nothing that kids can’t talk about, whether it be to mum, dad, an older brother or sister, or even the police,” Acting Sergeant Bagnall said.
Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said this year, they were encouraging people to ‘start the chat’ about online safety Whether that’s with friends, in the workplace, or parents at home with their children.
“Keeping open lines of communication and being engaged in your kid’s online lives provides them important pathways to confide in you when something does go wrong, whether it is contact from a stranger or another confronting experience,” Commissioner Inman Grant said.
“It’s never too early to start the chat. If your children are online, you need to talk to them about safety and eSafety’s resources can help, visit esafety.gov.au.”
eSafety is a key partner of the QPS and offers a wide range of resources to help the community have a safe and enjoyable experience online. For more information visit: www.esafety.gov.au/
- For life threatening emergencies or a crime in progress call triple zero (ooo)
- To report information to police call Policelink 131 444.
- If a person has been the victim of image-based abuse, it can also be reported to eSafety Commissioner who will work with the technology providers to attempt to remove the images.
Resources and advice
- eSafety Commissioner a key partner of the QPS in enhancing online safety, with a comprehensive suite of information, resources and reporting tools to ensure children have a safe experience online.
- Who’s chatting to your kids? Further QPS advice and information about reducing online risks for children.
- Out of the dark #doiknowu a campaign by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) supported by the QPS and Department of Education, providing resources to help young people stay safe online.
- Think U Know is a partnership between Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, Microsoft, State and Territory Police and Neighbourhood Watch. It provides information on topics including sexting, cyber bullying, online child exploitation, online privacy, and what to do when something goes wrong.