Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
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Stay Safe Online - visit the cafe - UK dedicated centre for tackling child sex abuse launches online safety programme for 8-11 year olds
Children as young as 8 years old are for the first time the focus of an online safety programme being launched by the UK police organisation dedicated to tackling child sex abuse - the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.
The programme - developed and launched with BECTA - focuses on a state of the art CYBERCAFE where children between the ages of 8-11 years will meet Gryff and his friends while learning 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 online "language".
And behind the whole programme - thinkuknow.co.uk/cybercafe - there is one overarching message. Have fun, know what to do and go to a trusted adult to seek help if you need it or feel threatened in any way.
It is intended that the programme can be delivered either as a stand-alone online service for children and parents at home, or through teachers in schools who can download lesson plans and other resources - all of which have been designed by teachers for teachers and are free.
All materials have been designed and road tested by children to ensure it engages this most discerning of audiences.
Parents can also find help by visiting thinkuknow.co.uk/parents where simple to follow programmes have been designed to gently 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 is Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre:
"What we have learnt from children and teachers alike is that children as young as 8 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.
"We see that danger first hand all the time. At CEOP we receive on average 10 reports a month relating specifically to children between the ages of 8-11 years. That should concern us all. And yet we know from OFCOM that over 40% of this age group are regularly using the internet and 7% of 10 year olds even have their own webcams. That trend is growing.
"But this is not about sensationalist headlines in order to strike fear - far from it. 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.
"So I say this to all teachers. If you are working with children between the ages of 8-11 years then please now work with us and help deliver this resource. After all many of you have said to us that you want this kind of service and teachers and children have been involved in the design, content and overall layout. Not only that but it is totally free. So download the lesson plans, explore the virtual world with your class at your side and help us make children safer today."
Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of BECTA said:
"We are very pleased to have worked closely with CEOP on the development of the CYBERCAFE. I believe this is an essential resource for all schools and teachers in the primary phase and will help to ensure that children are able to continue to enjoy using the internet safely and responsibly.
"For me, the internet provides a world of possibilities and is an exciting and informative place for young people to explore and enjoy, but we must do everything we can to make sure that this is a safe environment. This means that there is a duty of care on parents and education practitioners when children are at school or at home. We will continue to work closely with CEOP and continue to build on a relationship that is fundamental to the success of our work on e-safety."
Notes to Editors
1. At CEOP we receive on average 10 reports a month relating specifically to children between the ages of 8-11 years.
2. Young people's use of technology - aged 8-11
41% of children aged 8-11 regularly use the internet *
32% of children aged 8-11 regularly use a mobile phone *
56% of children aged 8-11 play computer games *
7% of 10 year olds have their own web cam *
Over 75% of 11 year olds have their own television, games console and mobile phone *
Use mobile phone increasing in use by 8-15 year olds (up 3% in 2007 from 2005) *
Use of internet increasing in use by 8-15 year olds (up 5% in 2007 from
(*All figures referenced to OFCOM)
3. thinkuknow.co.uk/cybercafe is the second development in the CEOP Centre's education programme - ThinkuKnow - which was launched in 2006 with the specific intention of empowering children so that they can use the internet in a safe and secure way free from the fear of child sex predators. The first stage of the programme - launched in September - was focused on young people between the ages of 11-15 years and to date over 1 million children have attended special in-school sessions. It has been delivered by over 4700 trained police officers, child protection specialists and education professionals.
4. BECTA leads the national drive to improve learning through technology. We do this by working with industry to ensure we have the right technology for education in place. We also support the education sector to make the best use of technology so that every learner in the UK is able to benefit from its advantages and achieves the best they can.
5. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre works in both online and offline environments to protect children from sexual exploitation. Full information on all areas of work, as well as online safety messages and access to online reporting, can be found at http://www.ceop.gov.uk.
6. CHILD ABUSE IMAGES, NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'
Use of the phrase 'child pornography' actually benefits child sex abusers:
a. It indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser
b. It conjures up images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse
Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not pornography.