Parents urged to speak to their children about online dangers
- Credit: National Crime Agency
Parents need to speak to their children about the dangers that lurk online, where abuse can happen to anyone.
The call comes after a predatory paedophile from Norfolk was jailed for 25 years after admitting 96 sex crimes carried out over the internet.
David Wilson, 36, of Kirstead, King's Lynn, posed as young girls to trick boys into sending him indecent images. He then blackmailed them into performing more obscene acts, with some victims saying the abuse had left them feeling suicidal.
After he was jailed on Wednesday Tony Cook, head of operations for the National Crime Agency which investigated Wilson, said: “I urge parents to speak with their children about who they communicate with online and what they share. People need to understand this can happen to anyone."
At a webinar attended by more than 50 parents on Thursday afternoon, Tory Rush, Norfolk police's safer school partnership support worker said 90pc of five to 15-year-olds have access to a tablet or device, while 45pc have a smart phone.
She said the risks to children online included games where they could play with strangers, where they could be groomed. She said grooming was also a large risk on social media.
She said parents should be aware that children could be bullied on group chats and should ask them who they are talking to.
Children have a false sense of security online and can add strangers to their following to boost their numbers. Ms Rush said that put children at risk from people using false profiles - such as Wilson - and they should not accept friend requests from people they have not met.
Ms Rush said parents should talk to their children about using the internet safely, switch off location settings and make sure only real-life friends could see their private information and they were only friends with people they have actually met.
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"Don't be afraid to have conversations about what is and isn't appropriate to share," she said.
For more information on online safety, visit https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/.