In one week in October – nearly 200 suspected paedophiles were arrested – with a third of cases involving streaming, grooming and blackmail.
To help parents protect their children against the threat, the NCA and National Police Chiefs’ Council are launching a new campaign today encouraging parents to talk to their child about the behaviours that could put them at risk on live streaming platforms.
Intelligence from the NCA and police forces shows that that dangerous offenders are capitalising on the immediacy of contact that live streaming offers, as well as the ability to target children with a large number of comments in real time. Once on these platforms, offenders often use tricks or dares, the offer of online gifts or ‘game points’ and threats, in an attempt to manipulate young people into performing acts involving nudity over webcam.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, said:
“In just one week, police forces and the NCA arrested 192 offenders on suspicion of child sexual abuse offences and prevented 245 children from coming to harm. We will keep working together to do this, adapting our approach so that nowhere online is safe for people out to groom children or view them being abused.
“But we also need help. We need internet companies to help us stop access to sexual abuse images and videos and prevent abuse happening on their platforms. We need parents and carers to talk to their children about healthy relationships and staying safe online.”
In an online NCA survey, 84% of parent respondents said they were alert to the potential dangers their children face online. But child protection experts are warning that knowledge goes out of date more quickly than many people realise because the online environment is now changing so quickly.
The survey also showed that while the majority of parents speak to their children regularly, over 30% had not spoken to their children about online safety in the last month. Almost 58% are not sure if they have adequate online security.