Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Sexual grooming takes centre stage on FLOW Safer Internet Day

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2017 | 2:00 AMJason Cross
Panellists at FLOW ‘s Safer Internet Day activities held at the Mona High School, St Andrew. From left: Rochelle Dixon, PR manager at the Child Development Agency; Errol Miller, executive chairman of the FLOW Foundation; Dr Sara Lawrence; Dale ‘Elli Di Viner’ Elliot, popular social media personality; Empress Golding, host of Talk Up Yute; Terri Karelle Reid, online brand manager at The Gleaner; and Constable Leon Golding.

Sexual grooming as well as the many illegal activities targeting children were the central focus yesterday at the Mona High School in St Andrew, as telecommunications firm FLOW joined the rest of the world in celebrating Safer Internet Day.

"We are concentrating our efforts this year on promoting the healthy use of the internet and connectivity among our young people, while also zooming in on the issue of human trafficking, sexual grooming and other illegal actions linked to online activities which are unfortunately on the rise," noted Kayon Wallace, director of corporate communications and stakeholder management at Flow.

She encouraged all stakeholders to get together to make the internet a safer space for all, young children and teenagers in particular.

"From cyberbullying to social networking, each year, Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns. The internet provides excellent learning and communication opportunities, but it also opens the door to some unwanted elements," said Wallace.

Addressing the students and teachers who came out from several schools in the area, she added, "Our children are spending more and more time online, and with this trend, we are seeing a diversification in the dangers they face. Parents and caregivers must make it a priority to familiarise themselves with the devices and media that the children are using."

A study conducted by internet research company ESET revealed that over the last 18 months, almost 80 per cent of parents bought internet-enabled devices for their children. However, parental controls available within antivirus software or within the devices are only being used by half of all parents.

PARENTAL SAFE

INTERNET TIPS

- Keep computers in high-traffic areas of the home and establish limits for visiting online sites and for how long.

- Surf the internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.

- Encourage regular dialogue with your children and make it your business to know who is connecting with them online.

- Set rules for social networking, instant messaging, emailing, online gaming and using webcams.