Search Our Site

We have 2,940,008 registered online learners.
852 new learners so far today.

Staying a step ahead of internet-related child sexual abuse

schedule 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Emma Brook in Virtual College

Staying ahead of internet related child sexual abuse

The internet has doubtlessly opened up all sorts of new opportunities for children and young people that simply didn't exist 20 years ago - but inevitably, the flipside of this is that it has also exposed them to new dangers from which they need to be protected.

Perhaps the most troubling of these threats is that of child sexual abuse. Due to the open yet private nature of online communication, it can be easy for vulnerable children to fall prey to grooming or other forms of abuse without their parents or adult caregivers being aware of what's happening, or of what kind of danger might be present.

Due to the serious nature of this type of child abuse, the government is conducting research and taking several steps to try and make children safer online, and to give adults better insight into the scale and reality of the problem. However, there are also plenty of steps that those responsible for young people can take immediately to help prepare them for the dangers that exist in cyberspace.

Gaining a better understanding of the issue

The Research Project at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) recently launched a rapid evidence assessment to try to get a better handle on the degree to which online-facilitated child sexual abuse has become a prevalent problem in the UK.

The review is intended to assess the various measures that are available for quantifying the scale of the issue, including the number of identified perpetrators, victims and offences, as well as the volume of child sexual abuse material circulating online.

A number of different sources are set to be considered - including crime statistics, data held by law enforcement and partners such as the Internet Watch Foundation, survey findings and academic research - with the aim of determining how this information can inform future UK policy and practice when it comes to cracking down on internet abuse of vulnerable youngsters.

What actions can adults take now?

It will take several months for this assessment to be carried out, but, in the meantime, there are a number of steps that adults responsible for children can take immediately to guarantee the online safety of the young people in their charge.

The most important element of this is making sure that adults - whether they be parents, teachers, social workers or professional carers - are able to have frank and open conversations with children about their internet usage, during which they can discuss the potential risks and set reasonable limitations on how long children should spend online, and what kind of content they should be accessing.

Key topics of conversation should include the implications of sharing personal data or images online, the precautions that should be taken when forming connections via social media, and the right way for children to react if they receive a threatening or inappropriate message. Adults and kids should also familiarise themselves with the safety and privacy tools offered by major websites and online services, as this will ensure that neither group feels like they're in the dark about how to stay safe when interacting online.


Related resources

Emma Brook - Virtual College

Author: Emma Brook

Emma works in the marketing design team at Virtual College and works on a variety of print and digital design projects. In her spare time she enjoys going to gigs and the theatre.

CPD
Investors
ISO 9001:2015
Microsoft
Crown Commercial Service Supplier

Contact

+44 (0)1943 605 976

info@virtual-college.co.uk

Marsel House

Ilkley, West Yorkshire

LS29 8DD

Awards for footer
Gold and silver award winners at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 - including gold for excellence in the design of learning content.
Live Chat

Click to chat

Login

We launched a new website in February 2017. If you want to go back to a course, or start a course, bought before this date then you may need to login to our original learning management system. Otherwise, please proceed to our new learning management system to return to your training.

LMS

You are already logged in. Click the button below to be taken to your LMS dashboard. Alternatively, click logout to leave the system.