Since the advent and boom of social media, Paedophiles found a new way to get their victims- unsuspecting children, who have not been taught the dangers of social media and how not to interact with strangers on social media.
Online child abuse is becoming rampant as young children and teenagers are being waylaid by Paedophiles who are sometimes also murderers. According to the UN, Adults posing as young people are using chat apps and social networks to befriend children with the goal of sexually exploiting them – a concept known as grooming.
In a podcast, Mr. Neil Walsh, the head of global cyber crime for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), gives tips for keeping children safe online. He said this abuse can be limited by educating children and their caregivers about the threats online
““You don’t give out your real name, you don’t give out your date of birth, you don’t give out where you live, who you go to school with,” Mr. Walsh advises in the podcast.
“If you have your own social media, maybe your own Facebook, maybe your own Twitter, proactively, objectively, have a look at what information are you giving out there. Is your photo on the profile? Is your location? Is your date of birth? Do you have pictures of your family? Of your friends? Of your kids? If there is someone who wanted to do anything against you, what could they learn about you by looking at that profile?”
Mr. Walsh, a former police officer who has fought pedophilia for decades, said criminals are increasingly using newer technologies to evade police, so children need to be empowered to understand the risks.
In the video below, Mr. Walsh gives advice to caregivers on what they can do to keep children safe online.ARVE Error: Invalid URL
A pedophile – before he or she is detected and arrested – is active an average of 13 years, Mr. Walsh said, citing figures from the United States Department of Justice. When arrested, an average offender is in the process of grooming or abusing up to 70 children.
Sonya Ryan, a woman whose 15-year-old daughter was killed by a man who groomed her for 18 months, said parents need to know what their children are doing online and understand the media they are using.
Speaking on a podcast, she said “Connection, communication and discussion,” “And being up to date with what kids are doing, who they’re talking to, and getting the kids to understand that what motivates this is love and care for them, it’s never about being nosey. It’s getting them to understand that not everyone online is who they say they are.”
Since her daughter’s murder in 2007, Ms. Ryan set up The Carly Ryan Foundation in her daughter’s name and pushed through a new law in Australia that makes it a crime for people, like the killer, to use the internet to prepare to hurt a child.
Not everyone online is who they say they are. “Cybercrime, cyber-enabled crime, but especially online child abuse, it’s one of the most preventable bits of crime, if we do it properly,” Mr. Walsh said. “It’s about education. It’s about understanding what that risk is and being conscious in our decisions.”
As parents, you need to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to social media. Protecting your children on social media is of utmost importance. Educate yourself on how the various social media apps/sites work, so you can have a better knowledge of their use and how to protect yourself.