While not wishing to cause undue alarm, it is right to highlight the growing concerns around keeping children safe while online and what is being done to help address this. We all know that while the internet has transformed our lives and brought many benefits, it has also brought new risks and dangers. While our children may be savvy in terms of operating technology, they remain at risk in our own homes from abusers from anywhere in the world.
Last week the Home Secretary Amber Rudd held meetings in America to discuss what more can be done to keep children safe online. Internationally, we have seen the growth of child sexual exploitation and the UK needs to work with the Americans and the global community to take action to help keep children safe.
It is concerning that since 2013, there has been a seven-fold increase in the number of indecent images of children that technology companies are alerting the government to. Governments need to work with internet companies to make sure they put their skills and abilities into tackling this problem. In particular this involves working with smaller platforms where children go to game online, to meet each other; and where there can be paedophiles operating.
The Conservative Government are co-ordinating police action to tackle online child sexual exploitation. Each month there are more than 400 arrests for indecent images of children offences in the UK. Extra money has gone into law enforcement to work undercover online in forums and chatrooms to identify and disrupt the threat of online grooming. The police are being given the tools to deal with the rise in recorded child sexual abuse offences. This includes improving training and ensuring all forces are connected to the Child Abuse Image Database, as well as new powers being created for the police.
The UK is leading a global response to tackle online child sexual exploitation but we as parents should also be as informed as possible. There is an excellent guide published by the NSPCC which can be easily found online by searching for “protect children online”.