UK cops launch child protection website

UK cops launch child protection website

CEOP sets up site to teach kids how to stay safe online

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – a UK police organisation dedicated to tackling child sex abuse – has launched an online safety programme.

The initiative, in association with BECTA (Bringing Educational Creativity to All), focuses on a cybercafe at The site aims to allow children between the ages of eight and 11 years to meet and learn about different aspects of online safety at their own pace.

Through a series of games, the children can help the characters use the internet to complete their homework, send emails and text messages, post online forums and a host of other activities safely. There is also a glossary for children to use should they need help in understanding the language of the online world.

It is intended that the free programme can be delivered either as a standalone online service for children and parents at home, or through teachers in schools who can download lesson plans and other resources. The content has designed by teachers.

Parents can also find help by visiting the site, where programmes have been designed to guide visitors through the technology. It explains all the different ways in which children are using the internet, as well as giving practical advice on how to protect them and provides useful first-warning signs in how the behaviour of young people may change if they are being targeted by offenders.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP Centre, said: “What we have learnt from children and teachers alike is that children as young as eight are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of the internet. But where the natural, innocent naivety of children collides with the open and often unrestricted nature of the virtual world then their safety is always going to be called into question.”

CEOP receives an average of 10 reports a month relating specifically to children between the ages of 8-11 years. But according to Ofcom, over 40 per cent of this age group are regularly using the internet and seven per cent of 10-year-olds even have their own webcams.

“We want children to use the internet. We want them to benefit from the whole multitude of opportunities it opens up. But we want them to do it in a way that safeguards their time in the virtual world. So we are encouraging them to sit down with adults they trust, explore the resources we have launched and to think about what they are doing. That makes sense all round,” Gamble added.