Your children aren’t as safe online as you think they are
NEW research by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation has revealed parents and carers across the country underestimate the threat posed to their children of online exploitation.
Despite just under 17,000 reports of online child sexual exploitation received by the ACCCE in 2019, the Australian-first research found only 21 per cent of parents and carers think there is a likelihood that online child sexual exploitation can happen to their child.
The research also showed the issue of online child sexual exploitation remains stigmatised, with 21 per cent of parents or carers feeling online child sexual exploitation is too "repulsive" or "sickening" to think about.
Australian Federal Police ACCCE manager Marina Simoncini said the research was an important step in understanding the current landscape in Australia in order to develop effective evidence-based prevention initiatives.
"Education and prevention plays a critical role to counter the ever-increasing number of child exploitation reports received each year.
"Law enforcement can't be everywhere at once and the ThinkUKnow program, working together with the ACCCE, represents a holistic approach to fighting this crime," she said.
"By working closely with our partners across the Australian community, we aim to help parents and carers, and children, understand what to look out for, in the hope that we can reduce the amount of offences against children."
The release of the findings come as Australia's online child safety program, ThinkUKnow, launched its 2020 annual program update this week.
The ThinkUKnow program has used the ACCCE-commissioned market research to produce a targeted education and prevention program that aims to reduce the impact and incidence of online child sexual exploitation in Australia.
The ACCCE research report, Online Child Sexual Exploitation: Understanding community awareness, perceptions, attitudes and preventive behaviours can be found via: https://www.accce.gov.au/news-and-media/understanding-online-child-exploitation/
• 21 per cent of participants think there is a likelihood that online child sexual exploitation can happen to their child.
• 3 per cent listed online grooming as a concern.
• 52 per cent of participants talk to their children about online safety.
• 21 per cent of participants felt online child exploitation is too repulsive and sickening to think about.
Four out of five children aged four are using the internet; 30 per cent of these children have access to their own device.
• 23 per cent of parents sit with their children while they use the internet.
• 51 per cent of participants did not know what they could do to keep children safe from online child sexual exploitation.