The warning signs your child is being groomed by an online predator
Kids as young as six-years-old are being contacted by groomers.
By Kerry McGurk and Jenny Ky
October 06 2019
On average, 940,000 Aussie kids aged between 13 and 17 use Facebook every single day.
Add in Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and that number is in the millions.
And with the rise of more kids on social media comes an increase in online predators.
According to the eSafety Commission, kids as young as six-years-old are being contacted by groomers.
This year, in NSW alone, the Child Exploitation Internet Unit has made 36 arrests, which is the largest number to date.
Just last month, they intercepted a child groomer who had contacted a 14-year-old girl.
"Someone came forward and reported that a 14-year-old girl was being approached online," said Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec.
"Police started to monitor that investigation, and we identified and will allege the conversation turned sexual online. He's currently before the courts.
"What's disturbing is while the police officers were able to jump in, we know all too well that a child will meet these predators and the worst consequences do happen."
Tactics of predators
"Predators will predominantly go onto social media sites and adopt a friendly and engaging persona," Kerlatec said.
"They'll identify what the child may like to gain their rapport and trust, and then after some time, we'll see that conversation turn sexualised.
"The predator could be anyone - from a tradie to a teacher to a father or step-father.
"It can happen over a period of time, but we've seen it happen over three days. It can happen very quickly. It depends on their ability to engross themselves with a particular child, the age of the child, and whether that child has been taught any defence skills."
What parents can do
"Parents need their children to show them the sites that they're visiting and also who they're talking to," Kerlatec said.
"Put some scenarios to them - for example, what would you do if they asked you to do things you didn't want to do? When would you tell someone?
"Make sure they're not putting pictures online, and tell them not to give our addresses or the name of their school. What's online stays there forever, and you don't want to give anything to a complete stranger.
"If parents find any concerning material, contact the police. We need to know every piece of information. It may not be so significant to you, but it may be a small part of a big jigsaw puzzle that we're putting together to identify whoever is out there and preying on our kids."
Find out more here.
Watch: The warning signs your child is being groomed by an online predator