CHILDREN are being urged to start purging their Facebook friends, amid warnings they may be targeted by predators.
Queensland child-safety ambassador Denise Morcombe said she was horrified by the number of young children who had hundreds of Facebook friends, many of whom they did not even know.
Mrs Morcombe said it was far too easy for pedophiles and child predators to infiltrate children's Facebook pages, including with dummy photos, ages and names.
A 14-year-old thinking she may be talking to another teenage girl could in fact be talking to a man in his 50s.
Mrs Morcombe said she was particularly disturbed by the amount of information that young people were posting online about such things as where they lived, their movements and whether their parents were home.
Mrs Morcombe's son, Daniel, was taken while he waited for a bus more than eight years ago.
She now travels with husband Bruce across Australia holding educational talks at schools.
"A common safety problem is to accept friends of friends of friends on Facebook. It is not a popularity competition,'' Mrs Morcombe tells students.
"For your own safety, we recommend that you delete all the people that you do not personally know. By having so many strangers online as your friends is placing you at risk.
"Some people will use all the information they find out about you online to get close to you.
"They will use all sorts of tricks to get to know you and they can harm you.
"Be smarter than them and delete all those strangers tonight.''
GOOD SAFETY ADVICE FOR KIDS
- Recognise; be observant about things around you, they might warn you about an unsafe situation.
- Trust your instincts and the body clues that warn you it's unsafe
- If you feel threatened "run" to a safe location and ask for help
- Plan ahead and think of ways to react in unsafe situations e.g. if you get lost
- Creat a list of safety helpers; adults who will listen and want to help you. Remember to include adults outside your home.
- Report. When you are unsafe or see something suspicious you need to tell an adult.
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