Not enough support to tackle online grooming

Child online

Media giants could do much more says charity 

18th March 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Social media companies must do more to tackle online grooming as a new campaign is launched directly targeting sex predators.

Stop It Now, an initiative which collaborates with a range of agencies including Police Scotland encouraging potential offenders to seek support, said there was nearly 1,600 online offences involving children in just 11 months in Scotland.

The figures reveal that 98 of the 1,583 offences so far in 2018/19 involved reports of grooming or attempting to groom children for sexual purposes.

A four-week initiative will feature adverts across social media channel raising awareness of the danger.

However Tony Stower, NSPCC head of child safety online, said social media giants have to take responsibility.

"Social media provides a gateway for sex abusers to target children, using false identities, deception and blackmail, and so it is extremely positive that Police Scotland are focusing more resources into tackling this type of offending," he said. 

"However, it is imperative that tech firms are also made to play their part. The NSPCC Wild West Web campaign is calling on government to bring in an independent regulator to enforce a legal duty of care on social networks, which would include them taking proactive steps to tackle grooming on their sites."

Police Scotland's assistant chief constable Gillian MacDonald said: "Perpetrators of online child abuse are single minded and target children using messaging apps.

"This includes crimes of grooming children for sexual purposes, indecently communicating with children and causing children to participate in sexual activity."