Detective warns parents against online sex predators

STRANGER danger has developed a frightening new meaning in the digital age, with predators often targeting children - through popular websites and phone apps.   

Unfortunately, the case of convicted child sex offender John Thomas Coe is an example of the types of offences police regularly investigate locally.   

Detective Sergeant Melonie Geck from the Child Protection and Investigation Unit has urged Fraser Coast parents to monitor their children's online use and educate them on the dangers of using the internet.

Detective Sergeant Melonie Geck.
Detective Sergeant Melonie Geck. Boni Holmes

  "It's important to be mindful of who your children are talking to, and what they're doing online," Det Sgt Geck said.

  "A good idea is to put safety provisions in place so they can't access certain websites.  

"We also want people to be mindful of grooming offences."   

In the case with Coe, he shared explicit messages with a 14-year-old victim over the social media website Tumblr.    Crimes often involve children sharing photos of themselves to predators.  

In many cases children share explicit photos of themselves with other children.  

"There are offences of producing and making child exploitation material," Det Sgt Geck said.  

"Kids, most of the time, don't know that they are doing the wrong thing (in this context).  

"With these cases we talk to them and educate them, and try other avenues other than prosecuting them."  

But whether you're a child or adult - sharing photos of onesself has the potential of resulting in detrimental consequences.  

"Once they are taken and are out in the community, they can spread everywhere," she said.  

Detectives are hoping to raise awareness among parents and children this week for Child Protection Week.  

This includes child abuse prevention, treatment, research, education, and support for children, young people and families  

Det Sgt Geck recommended parents go to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation website, at danielmorcombe.com.au, which offers a range of resources for parents, kids and schools.  

"If anyone is aware of any child that is not safe or being offended against to please make sure to call and report it," she said.   

"Safety is their right."  

You can also go online to childprotectionweek.org.au to learn more about Child Protection Week.   



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