The Internet offers a fascinating new way for children to engage with the world; they can access a wealth of information at the click of a mouse and make friends halfway around the world. Such things would not have been possible only a few short decades ago.
However, this new tool comes with new risks.
The Internet creates opportunities for child predators to access our most vulnerable resource; our children. This phenomenon is known as Internet child exploitation (ICE) and can include:
- •Grooming children online for the purpose of sexually abusing them. This might involve an adult pretending to be a child, befriending the child through online chat rooms, social networking websites, email, mobile telephone messaging, gaining their trust, or stalking their online activities;
- •Asking a child or young person to participate in non-contact sexual activities such as engaging in sexual conversations online or via mobile phone;
- •Asking a child or young person to take and share indecent images of themselves online or through a mobile telephone;
- •Asking a child or young person to display sexualised behaviours or perform sexual acts that are recorded and shared live via webcam;
- •The creation, storage and distribution of child sexual abuse images and/or video;
- •Arranging to meet a child or young person in person for the purpose of sexually abusing them.
Spending time online is a reality for most youth. By being aware of the potential dangers associated with using the Internet, parents and youth can decrease their likelihood of being victimized.