PARENTS must be extra vigilant in their monitoring of children’s online activity, says Commissioner Shaun Wright.
The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is calling for unilateral support to ensure children ‘surf safely’ online.
Commissioner Wright spoke in support of ‘Safer Internet Day’ and the report from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre highlighting the alarming trend in online sexual abuse of minors.
However, the Commissioner believes this advice of extra vigilance should be extended to other influencing figures in children’s lives, such as teachers, religious, community and youth leaders.
Mr Wright said: “While it is good to see a 12 per cent drop in incidents of attempts being made by groomers to meet children, online abuse is something that must, to a great degree, be addressed domestically.
“It has been consistently shown that children whose internet activities are scrutinised and who can be open with their parents or carers about what they do or see online, tend to enjoy a better level or protection from grooming. They also appear more resistant to the methods these offenders use.
“The 12-16 year old group, those who are the most vulnerable to this type of activity, have grown up with the internet and smart phones and tend to take this technology totally for granted.
“We must educate our children to ‘surf safely’ and protect their personal information. They must tell an adult about anything they see online that causes concern or makes them feel uncomfortable.”