21 October 2018   |  Last Updated 18-12-2014 11:27

      Friday 12, December 2014

      Campaigner blames parents for not taking online grooming seriously

      IN light of David Cameron’s pledge to crackdown on online sexual abuse with new laws, campaigner Donald Findlater blames parents for not taking it seriously enough.

      Earlier in the week at a London summit the Prime Minister announced a joint GCHQ and National Crime Agency unit would hunt online paedophiles with the same "effort" used to track terrorists. This would also include a new crafted law to stop adults sending children sexual messages.

      Despite this the director of research and development at ‘Stop It Now’ believes that parents need to not just insist that politicians do things, but that they themselves as parents take more action.

      Alarmingly in the UK it is estimated that one in four girls and one in eight boys will be victims of sexual abuse.

      “I think parents might worry or talk about their worries, but what I don’t think they do is talk to their children about it.

      “What they can then do by realising there is a risk is discuss these issues with their children, and make sure they have practical steps in place.”

      Online companies such as Microsoft, Google and Mozilla are also part of the push, as they promise to step up blocking child abuse images on the internet. In contradiction to this the advancements of the internet has also created its own problems in tackling online abuse.

      “There is no doubt that new technology with all the advances can actually create some new divisions. Parents often feel that the technology then becomes an obstacle to engaging with their child, I just think it can’t afford to be.

      “It’s sensible to make use of tools available, whether it’s through filtering or blocking, especially with younger children.”

      Mother of two Amanda Biddell admitted: “I am not sure what filters we have in place online, I would have to ask my husband. I should know really though it’s not good is it.”

      Findlater also believes that once children get into their teenage years, it is essential to have a good relationship between the child and the adult, where these things get talked about.

      “If we build that well from the beginning then hopefully it will stand you and the child in good stead across a lifespan.

      “What is really useful I think for most parents is to sit with their children and go online and view one or two videos from the thinkyouknow website.”

      For parents who are unsure of how to address this to their child, or have any issues surrounding their child’s safety online, call ‘Stop It Now’ on 0808 1000 900. Alternatively the Lucy Faithful Foundation also provides online support for parents.

      by Luke Betts