INTERNET/DIGITAL ABUSE is the misuse of the internet for harmful intent and can involve harassment, stalking, threatening behaviour, sexual exploitation, trolling, revenge porn, bullying, intimidation, bait-out pages, sexting, grooming, radicalising, ID theft, fake profiles.
Sadly, social media and the internet can be used with bad intent. Falling victim to online abuse whilst using various social networking platforms is an increasing risk. Platforms have failed to build in adequate ‘safety by design’ protections, take steps to proactively prevent grooming, and to do enough to tackle child abuse imagery as it’s being produced. Research has shown that the impact of online and face to-face abuse is the same, no matter how the abuse took place. (NSPCC) For more information and safety tips check Get Safe Online.
ONLINE CHILD ABUSE in addition to the above, it can include sexual communication with a child, creating or sharing child sexual abuse material, inciting a child to sexual activity, causing a child to view images or watch videos of a sexual act.
Children can also be re-victimised if evidence of their abuse is recorded or
COVID 19 – During this time of isolation, the risk of online abuse will increase as children spend more time on line at home. Would you know if someone has acted inappropriately towards your child online?
Children and young people face a range of abuse risks online – from the production and distribution of child abuse images, to the harmful effects of being exposed to inappropriate content, to the growing scale of grooming being facilitated on social networks. Both online abuse and exposure to unsuitable content or behaviour can have a long-lasting impact on the wellbeing of children and young people. The Home Office says that it estimates 80,000 adults in the UK pose a sexual threat to children online. (NSPCC)
CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) have provided online safety at home activity packs for parents and children. The packs are age appropriate (4 to 14+) and contain valuable information that support both parent and child. We cannot stress enough how important it is to protect our youngsters online – make sure you have put measures in place to ensure their safety.