As a parent, it is important to be aware that a child can be identified and located by a number of methods. This includes posting information such as:
- personal details made available via the internet (including on their social networking pages and on their friends pages)
- photos of themselves wearing clothing that may identify their membership of a club, association or school or taken in front of an easily identifiable landmark
- identifying information that a child’s friend has disclosed during conversations
- email address distribution lists (included on group emails)
Once a child has transmitted an indecent image across the internet, that image can be saved or uploaded to the internet for public viewing. It is all but impossible to remove the image as it can be copied and downloaded often hundreds of thousands of times.
Suggestions to help protect your child on the Internet:
- Having direct and open communication with your child, taking the time to sit down with them and discussing their use of the internet is the most important step to protecting them online. Having open lines of communication allows your child to talk to you freely and approach you when something is wrong.
- Be aware of the programs and files on your computer. If you don’t feel you have the knowledge or technical ability to do this, ask a friend, colleague or qualified technician.
- Spend time exploring the internet with your children, and let them teach you about their favourite web sites, including the social networking and instant messaging sites they use.
- Take the time to view your child’s online profile and check for information that may be unsafe, including email addresses, information about their membership of any other networking sites, unacceptable photos or any other information of concern.
- Keep the computer in a room the whole family accesses, not in your child’s bedroom. Opportunities for exploitation by a sexual predator are limited if the computer monitor is visible to all members of the family.
- Taskforce Argos has developed the “Family Internet Safety Agreement”, a contract you agree upon with your child. The document sets out agreed rules of internet use with your child and is available at the back of this booklet and on the Queensland Police Service website (www.police.qld.gov.au). If this does not meet your needs, sit down with your family and develop your own set of guidelines. to help protect your child on the internet Suggestions
- Consider installing filtering and/or computer blocking software provided by your internet service provider.
- Ensure you are able to access your child’s email and randomly check its contents. Remember they may also be a member of free email accounts other than the one provided by your internet service provider.
- Consider approaching your telephone service provider to discuss options they may be able to provide to ensure your privacy and security.
- It is important to remember your child may be accessing the internet from other locations. Enquire with your child’s school, public library or anywhere you believe your child uses the internet to ascertain what safety measures they have in place.
Important points to discuss with your children:
- Do not send pictures of themselves to someone they don’t know and never place a full profile and picture of themselves anywhere on the internet
- Never give out personal information including their name, home address, phone number or school
- Never arrange a face to face meeting with someone they have only engaged with on the internet.
Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Crime Stoppers is a charitable community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.