Help your children to stay safe from sexual exploitation online
We're asking parents to be vigilant and make sure their children are staying safe online.
Grooming can often begin with a person befriending a child and giving them gifts or money. The child may feel forced to distance themselves from their friends and family at the wishes of the offender, making them more vulnerable to exploitation.
- becoming more secretive
- using alcohol or drugs
- becoming more withdrawn
Councillor Mahmood Hussain, Portfolio Holder for children and young people, said: “Children often do not realise they are being groomed and so it is vitally important that we teach them how to stay safe online.
“Talk to your children about the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and try to be aware of what websites and games they are using online. If you have any concerns about child sexual exploitation please report them immediately.”
Top tips for ensuring your children are staying safe online this winter:
- check that their social media accounts are set to private so that posts can only be viewed by people who they have approved
- set up parental controls to help block upsetting or inappropriate websites and content
- talk to your child about what they share online and explain to them that things they post may be downloaded by others and sent elsewhere
- remind them not to accept friend requests from anybody who they do not know
- encourage them to talk to you if they see anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable
- make your children aware that people may not be who they say online and to take care when speaking with people online
If you are concerned about child sexual exploitation, contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01582 547 653 during office hours or 0300 300 8123 out of office hours.