back to article 'Online sex abuse of children is growing trend', warn Brit net cops

Paedophiles are increasingly targeting kids online and pressuring them to perform sex acts that are recorded on mobile phones, net-cop quango the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre warned today. It said, after carrying out joint research with the University of Birmingham, that an "alarming new trend" was …

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  1. Wize

    Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

    ...won't the child be more able to remove the blocks?

    Maybe children shouldn't be allowed smart phones. What do they need them for?

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

      I agree with you, however my wife says it would be unfair for our daughter not to have a mobile as most of her class has one. I pointed out to my wife that as she attended a CyberBullying in Schools seminar last week, then she should understand why not letting our daughter have a mobile is a good idea.

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

        Andrew I agree with you. My own daughters are more or less grown up and now in their twenties so I can look back with less emotion.

        In fact I can look back to the fifties and my own childhood.

        I realised with a shock that things were not so very different back then. Of course we did not have mobile phones or digital cameras. However, live encounters were a factor for some. I now realise that the girls who I heard about who got involved in 'precocious activities' were those whose relationship with their parents sounds, with hind sight to have lacked warmth, guidance and the right contact. I now understand they simply did not have the relationship that they needed and were using experimentation and in at least one case practice to find what they lacked in their normal life.

        I think you have it down right and are not making those mistakes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

        "however my wife says it would be unfair for our daughter not to have a mobile as most of her class has one."

        That is the weakest excuse and also the most heard. Attending a seminar is not the same as paying attention or even understanding the seminar.

    2. daldred

      Re: Really?

      ISPs providing content blocks tend to require evidence of age to remove blocks - a passport or driving licence, for example, with details matching those of the account holder.

      What's not clear is how this sort of blocking would prevent the access via instant messaging (the Reg mentions only BBM, presumably being unaware that these new-fangled smartphones also do Skype, MSN, WhatsApp etc etc) - that sort of thing is not usually covered in any ISP level blocks -and , yes, blocks at phone level are usually only too removable by anyone.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

      I think it's a bit of a cliché to suggest kids are more technically able than their parents, mine certainly aren't. On the other hand I agree that kids don't need smart phones, or in my opinion phones at all. I also don't let my kids use social media or have unsupervised internet access.

      In my experience kids don't need encouraging to use computers but they do need encouraging to play sports and interact with other kids.

      I appreciate that the goal is to bring them up to be adults so I talk to them about what I do and why and what the risks are and as they reach adult hood the decisions will become less mine and more theirs.......

      As an aside, I'm a little sceptical of these numbers it does sound like a bit of hype. I'm not saying this never happens but I don't think it's reached the epidemic (or to use today's hype, pandemic) proportions they suggest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 15:01

        I don't think it is fair to compare yourself to your kids, as an El Reg reader, with Joe Public's kids in terms of relative technical competence.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

        There are many reasons why a kid needs a smartphone once they get to secondary school ... personally I feel much happier knowing that my kids can contact me if they need help, especially as they both have to travel a couple of miles to school ... not to mention the other stuff they go to like music lessons etc.

        There is an easy test to see if your kids are mature and responsible. (1) Did they have a girl/boyfriend at primary school? (2) Do they watch Eastenders or similar soap (Hollyoaks etc).

        If the answer to either of these is yes then the likelihood is that your child is at risk of being abused.

        If the answer to (2) is yes then you're also a poor parent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Even if the parent's knew how to restict their childs phone...

          "...personally I feel much happier knowing that my kids can contact me if they need help..."

          So, a non-smart phone could be of use? They don't need a camera or internet to phone or text you.

          You can even get ones that can only dial certain numbers programmed in by the parents.

  2. Dave Bell

    Language Corruption

    It looks as though the "children" these people want to protect are mostly what would be called teenagers.

    They need protecting, but I wonder if they were encouraged to do anything that they wouldn't have done in private anyway? I reckon this is something that would be better handled by sex education than by a panic over internet threats to our precious bodily fluids.

    1. MrXavia
      Thumb Up

      Re: Language Corruption

      Have an up-vote for common sense!

      yes teenagers need protecting, but more by parental guidance than anything else.....

      they should know enough to not go sending sexual pictures of themselves to others.....

      If my kids can't bypass nearly any block I could put in place by the time they are 13, then i will not have done my job right in their education!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Language Corruption

        "If my kids can't bypass nearly any block I could put in place by the time they are 13, then i will not have done my job right in their education!"

        In the late 1990s my neighbour's just-teenage son explained that it only needed one boy at his school to work out how to by-pass any blocks. The information was then shared as a "how to" sheet - which required little understanding of the method by anyone else. That's the way the technology world works - one "tool maker" supports a lot of people who are only interested in the end result.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloody useless parents and CEOP trying to justify their existence

    Why does a kid need an iphone or similar?

    If you're a paranoid parent then get them a BASIC phone, if the kids complain its YOUR job to put YOUR foot down and look after YOUR children and tell them basic or nothing. No internet, no camera.

    It's the same with internet access. They are YOUR brats, YOUR responsibility, don't want to have your evenings totally screwed up for 18 years, easy...DON'T HAVE KIDS. Put the computer in the living room or kitchen, somewhere you can keep an eye on whats happening.

    The excuse that the "kids know more about it than me" is frankly pathetic. If you can't be arsed to learn about how to use a computer, dont give your kids free and unfettered access to it.

    I'm genuinely tired of lazy parents who can't be arsed to look after their own kids, who fold at the first cry of "I want" and buy their spawn iphones, ipads, laptops powerful enough to run a space station and then complain when the kids go off and do something with them. Then they call for this ban and than ban and this restriction and that restriction.

    It's NOT my job to care about your kids, it;s NOT my job to make sure that they are "safe" online and if you're kid is stupid enough to MMS or put a naked picture of themselves up on the internet it isn't even the fault of the paedo its YOUR fault for being a SHIT PARENT!

    1. Titus Technophobe
      Thumb Down

      .... nice

      But it is generally thought that one of the responsibilities of society is to protect vulnerable people. How do you reconcile that thought with your somewhat incoherent rant?

      Are you trying to say that the sheer effort of removing a content lock on an internet connection is beyond you or what?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: .... nice

        It's the laziness of the parents and the refusal to say no to their kids as well as the principle of the thing.

        If parents are too lazy to to put on a lock, why should I go to the trouble of unlocking a lock? I don't have kids, don't want kids, yet I'm expected to change my life around for someone elses laziness.

        If you go back to pre widespread internet use and look at porn on TV in the 90's , although it was on after the 9pm watershed, parents groups still complained because "thier kids had TV's in their rooms" & "busy lives meant that they couldn't supervise their kids in the evenings". Pure laziness.

        If someone's someones kid is too stupid to realise that sending someone at school a naked picture of themselves means that it can be sent to anyone, it is the PARENT's fault for raising stupid children, not the fault of the technology or the providers.

        As ot protecting vulnerable people, I though it was OK now to be "me,me,me" since we are now apparently allowed to revel in the fact that well in excess of 1000 people have killed themselves in 2012 alone because of Government outsourcing to ATOS..

        1. Dave 15

          Re: .... nice

          When I were a lad you got porn from the top shelf in the newsagents, swapped it around a group of friends. Its not really any worse now.

          People are just lapping up the stupidity from government and idiots who want to 'protect us' from everything - which means allowing us nothing.

          As I said I really can't see some 14 year old school girl doing anything with a mobile phone for some fat 40 year old sad git. Sorry, it just doesn't ring true at all. And if it is true then the girl concerned needs far more help than some lock on their phone, they need appropriate love and affection from their family, their family might need guidance on how to do this. The rest of us don't need stupidity heaped on stupidity just in case.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: .... nice

            @Dave 15 - The sort of porn that is freely available on the Internet these days is a world away from the "hedgeporn" or the 70s and 80s. Gangbangs, serious s'n'm and multiple penetrations were not part of what I remember from jazz mags.

            If you think that a 40 year old predator isn't able to intellectually run rings round a 14 year old, usually vulnerable child (ie: their family don't care or don't exist and they want love of an adult) you have a dim view of 40 year olds and a highly optimistic view of children.

            1. EvilGav 1
              Stop

              @AC 16:29 Re: .... nice

              That's a shame for you, we had access to some pretty good shit from the age of about 8 or so.

              Certainly remember seeing SnM and GB's in magazines when I was, ohh, 13 or so as well - which is near enough 30 years ago now.

              The only difference today is that it's easier to get hold of and, in no small part, has meant that many groups of *adults* have come to the conclusion that they aren't alone in their preponderences.

              There are many comments that already say this, but it's quite simple - be a parent if you have kids, don't expect society to be one for you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: .... nice

          ah .. you don't have kids and don't want kids ...

          so actually you are irrelevant ... just waiting for extinction.

          Looks like your parents didn't do a good job.

      2. Magnus_Pym

        Re: .... nice

        Rant yes. Incoherent no.

      3. Dave 15

        Re: .... nice

        The rant is based on the right things. It is NOT societies place to protect you, it is YOUR place to protect you and yours. Take some damned responsibility and stop trying to nanny everyone over everything. If I want to drink 15 pints listen to loud music and browse porn then its not your place to tell me I will go blind (note, kiddy porn is not something that would want).

        We are supposed to be free in the west, its people like you who are eating away at that and turning a culture of innovation and excitement into one of people sat in front of meaningless soap operas on TV scared of their own shadow in case it might give them cancer.

        Get a damned grip of yours, and leave me to grip mine.

        1. Ben 38
          Thumb Up

          Re:Re: .... nice

          Hats off to that man. Really, hats off. I considered chipping in - no longer a need.

          1. Titus Technophobe
            Thumb Down

            @AC Mon 4th Feb 2013 13:34 GMT and 15:12

            Don’t you feel that you are being a bit hypocritical? On the one hand your final statement is that it is OK now to be ‘me, me, me’ but all you’re proceeding paragraphs berate extensively children for being exactly that, and parents for eventually giving in to that pressure.

            Bear in mind (maybe that should be bare in mind) net enabled phones are not now a specialist technology product they are sold to pretty well anybody along with cornflakes, tins of beans, and washing powder.... the cheapest costing about the same as a large box of washing powder.

            The parents who buy these phones may well not have the technology background to understand the possible pit falls. So a question for you, does the supermarket

            a. Check that the purchaser has the background to understand the risk

            b. Warn the parent

            c. Take the money .....

            Given how these products are so prevalent just maybe the marketing of them should be a bit more responsible, or indeed just maybe there should be something in the technology to help out the unwary?

            Your statement -

            If someone's someones kid is too stupid to realise that sending someone at school a naked picture of themselves means that it can be sent to anyone

            Aside from containing some incoherence ... the word should be the possessive i.e. someone’s but you covered both possibilities I guess..... shows an astonishing lack of understanding of the likely cognitive abilities of a 12 to 15 year old child.

            A child under the age of 15 is quite unlikely to understand the possible consequences of sending somebody a naked picture of themselves. General thinking is that until children reach about 15 they aren’t capable of reasoning as an adult.

            It is with some relief I read that you don’t have children, and I guess both of us are hoping that is the way your life stays. Personally this end I have my fingers crossed that with luck you don’t even have a partner.... as you don’t strike me as the caring sympathetic type were to have an accident along those lines......

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC Mon 4th Feb 2013 13:34 GMT and 15:12

              " General thinking is that until children reach about 15 they aren’t capable of reasoning as an adult."

              Yet the English law holds children older than 9 fully responsible for their activities that are considered sexual.

              Most people don't fully reason like an adult until their early twenties. Research has shown that the relevant area of the brain matures at quite a late stage. They have also shown that the development is faster if children are encouraged to take on responsibilities. This encouragement appears to be something that has been largely removed from UK society in the last 30 or so years.

              A study of WWII refugees showed that a child can learn to survive by itself after the age of 5. A nurse friend described how children of that age were acting as carers for an incapacitated mother and younger siblings. They were not totally effective - but surprisingly capable. Victorian street waifs showed similar abilities to cope with their living conditions. See "Fagin's Children: Criminal Children in Victorian England " by Jeannie Duckworth 2002.

            2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              @Titus

              "General thinking is that until children reach about 15 they aren’t capable of reasoning as an adult." That could be true, but see a later post about the infantilising effect of our current society. However, one thing is certainly true: if they can't reason as adults, then they are not adults, and should not have rights. That does not mean that adults do not have duties towards them - we most certainly do - but the entire concept of "Rights of the Child" is utter nonsense.* Once that is realised more widely, we can start to make society better (though it isn't going to happen - our society has all the hallmarks of terminal decadence).

              * Even if you accept that rights themselves are not "nonsense on stilts".

              1. Titus Technophobe
                Thumb Up

                @Intractable Potsherd

                Both the “Rights of the child” and the more general “Human Rights “ are not so much ‘nonsense on silts’ but are a mixture of ideals both good and bad.

                My observations would be:

                You get the ‘rights’ at the same time that you understand and accept your ‘responsibility’ to respect the rights of others. Also you lose the ‘rights’ if you demonstrate enough that you don’t accept the ‘responsibility’.

                The ‘rights’ aren’t some sort of part of the natural law, god given, or whatever, they are defined, defended and paid for by the society in which you live. If society either, doesn’t agree that you have or can no longer afford, a ‘right’ you aren’t entitled to it any longer (any whimpering, and protests that you are entitled to a right puts you at odds with your responsibility - see first point).

                But that said and also taking the point that society is increasingly infantilising our young people.... how difficult is it to knock a default content lock off a mobile phone? My phone has one, and I have removed it.

                As I have previously remarked the OP in this case seems to demonstrate a remarkable lack of consideration for others in justifying that he has a trouble free internet access for his own gratification.

            3. PatientOne

              @Titus

              "The parents who buy these phones may well not have the technology background to understand the possible pit falls. So a question for you, does the supermarket

              a. Check that the purchaser has the background to understand the risk

              b. Warn the parent

              c. Take the money ...."

              How about d: Provide the technical support? ISP's do, so why not the Mobile providers? Perhaps they'd even start providing phones specifically for children?

              There's a market right there - won't someone think of the children?

    2. envmod

      Re: Bloody useless parents and CEOP trying to justify their existence

      A-fucking-men to that.

  4. mark 63 Silver badge

    Cotton Wool approach

    This is an "information age" , to use a fairly old phrase.

    I dont think the "cotton wool" approach is going to work anymore. Theres to many ways of accessing the net, and it is a part of life now anyway.

    Parents should be educating the children on the dangers - some modern equivalent of "Dont get into cars with strangers offering sweets and puppies"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cotton Wool approach

      'some modern equivalent of "Dont get into cars with strangers offering sweets and puppies"'

      Such "stranger danger" is a very small risk. The bigger risk is people who have the private access and "parental" authority to coerce a child. There have been several press reports recently about police officers abusing vulnerable women with whom they came into contact through investigations.

      It is a difficult balance to avoid priming a child (or adults) to view all adults as suspicious characters.

  5. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    I'm suprised

    CEOP is suggesting that parents should take responsibility. That's a nice change from "only government can protect people from themselves" approach under the old boss.

    Talking about measures parents should take - the key thing is explaining to kids that anything put online cannot be controlled. Sometime, in 5 days or in 20 years, it will be found, spread, shared and discussed. If the teens then decide to ignore the warnings - let them deal with consequences when they come. And, frankly, the consequences are not going to be as catastrophic and the media portrays them to be.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "CEOP noted that a sharp increase in smartphone usage among 12- to 15-year-olds - up 21 per cent in just a year - meant that young people were able to communicate and share images more easily than ever with strangers online."

    I tell the kids, adults can not be trusted and not to follow any instructions from adults except parents/teachers/police. If they are unsure to call me. I limit what they can do and use software to control thier access.

    Dirty bast*rds should be chemically castrated.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      "Dirty bast*rds should be chemically castrated"

      Calm down, calm down! Aren't you being a bit hard with your kids???

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I tell the kids, adults can not be trusted and not to follow any instructions from adults except parents/teachers/police. If they are unsure to call me. I limit what they can do and use software to control thier access."

      Good ghods, I hope this doesn't mean that you have reproduced :( Werner von Braun was right.

    3. MrXavia
      WTF?

      If your kids cant be trusted, don't give them a smart phone!

    4. Dave 15

      adults can't be trusted?

      And kids can? Are you sure that the 12 year old boy your 12 year old is talking to is not a 45 year old?

      I don't want anyone to impose any 'identity verification' and indeed giving your real personal details to people like facebook is just asking for the US government to take the info or some hacker to share it - so it is best not to give real information anyway.

      Kids do need to be savvy about what they share - trivial detail can - and sometimes does - lead to them being 'tracked down' if people have such a desire. I taught my boy to share nothing real ever on the net - wrong school name, wrong town name, never his own picture, never his own name, never his own address, never his real hobbies or his age. Nothing real ever.

      Sounds paranoid but it is better in a place where dishonesty is rampant to be dishonest yourself.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The whole point

    of such excersises is... simple... get kids used to being monitored, filtered, etc... so that the gov can then do what they want with nobody raising an eyebrow.

    Better approach... teach your kids the values of privacy(their own(as far as I'm concerned they are entitled to it - not having someone watch over their shoulder all the time) and others), critical thinking and a lot of other stuff. You know... the stuff parents should do normally.

    Hell I've been brought up fairly liberal. When I f... up I got a talking to and other punishments but it was also explained to me why. Watching pron when I was 10 no biggie... got a sex talk about it after that but that was that. No raised eyebrows etc...

    Kids have brains, minds and are capable of making their own choices. Let them excersise that right and maybe just maybe we'll get a better world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The whole point

      Given the problem here is social networking and not web site access, the internet filters are utterly pointless.

      How would that work otherwise? Somebody/something reading EVERY message to and from you and your loved ones looking for signs of "inappropriate language" perhaps?

      Fsck that! We fought two World Wars to stop that sort of sh*t before, now they want to welcome it in :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The whole point

        I think you need to go back to your history class ... we didn't fight two world wars to make pornography freely available.

        They were fought to decide who got to control the sheep ...

    2. Dave 15

      Re: The whole point

      You are probably correct. Most kids don't turn a hair at the current monitoring - and even when they do they are slapped down ... just look at that girl in America (the land of the free, so free they are tracked around a school for heavens sake).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The whole point

      "Kids have brains, minds and are capable of making their own choices. Let them excersise that right and maybe just maybe we'll get a better world."

      Research has shown that the "responsibility" area of the brain matures in a person's early twenties. However the development speeds up if they are given increasing responsibility as they grow up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The whole point

        @Research has shown that the "responsibility" area of the brain matures in a person's early twenties.

        If only I could believe that. Sadly I don't. I hear way to many late twenties/early thirties drivers crashing their cars causing deaths and so on. The next class after that are all the politicians. Haven't seen one that would be responsible for his actions yet.

        I guess for me it was mostly that my mom was a single parent so basically I had responsibility from early on. Do the dishes, take out the trash(which is something I rarely still do), clean stuff up(usually NOT my room) etc...

        But yes I firmly believe that a child if having their choices properly presented and explained is capable of atleast contributing to a decission about themselves.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Watching pron when I was 10 no biggie... got a sex talk about it after that"

    Were you dissappointed when you were told "it isn't really like that"?

    1. Dave 15

      Isn't it :)

      You need to find the right partner :) :)

      1. Anton Channing
        Happy

        Re: Isn't it :)

        Funny comment. Hope you're joking though because really good sex is nothing like the "sexual stunts" performed in the average porn flick... ;)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Isn't it :) Re; Anton C.

          They aren't? Could have fooled me.

          anonymous for her privacy.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it :) @Anton Channing

          That's a very moralistic statement. Remember, each to their own unless it involves involuntary coercion.*

          * No, that isn't a tautology - some people like to be coerced, so it isn't involuntary and therefore causes no actionable harm - despite what their Lordships decided in R v Brown.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Heh not really. Since I was mostly aware of that part of the stuff anyway.

  9. Jay Holmes

    Had a discussion with my 7yr old son the other day, apparently his friend had been grounded, when I asked him why he told me that the phone her parents had got her (for when she went to the park so they could call her in if needed) had been set to silent so her parents couldnt get hold of her so she was late in and got a bollocking.

    I asked him if he thought that was fair, he said yes as she had been trusted and had broke that trust! (woo hoo I thought ive dragged this kid up proper lol)

    I then told him that I would possibly do something similar ie get him a mobile for when he goes down the park, so I could contact him if I wanted him back in early or he could call me to ask me anything without having to run home first (can i go round friends house etc etc)

    He was excited about being trusted with a mobile, however he had the wrong end of the stick as we were in Carphone Warehouse and he went straight to the smartphones, when I asked him what he was doing he told me he was looking for the phone he wanted. He wasnt too impressed when I showed him which phones I was talking about lol (didnt like the comment of well at least its got a colour screen, my first phone didnt!)

    We have to trust kids to make their own mistakes and learn from them, but as parents we have to help our kids learn from their mistakes and keep an eye on them. Not in a massively big brother sense, but to help them from turning their mistakes into full blown cluster fucks! If you can trust your kids then they will trust you with everything.

    I would rather my kid (or anybody really) come and tell me they have fucked up, than for me to find out from someone else!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I would rather my kid (or anybody really) come and tell me they have fucked up, than for me to find out from someone else!!"

      My godchildren have quite liberal and understanding parents. However in their teens they would occasionally use me as a mentor about things for which they could not judge their parents' reactions. My reply was always "this is what society thinks; this is what your parents probably think; this is what I think. Now decide what you want to think - I don't care what you decide, as long as you have thought through your position."

      If they said "please don't tell our parents" - then my rider was "as long as you never tell them I knew". Their parents encouraged this mentoring - knowing that it avoided some teenage face-to-face "power" battles that served no useful purpose.

      One godson, then in his twenties, was given two hours to make a decision about a serious medical condition. It was gratifying that I was phoned as one of his advisors - apparently because "I can rely on you to cover all the angles without bias". The decision was his to make - when he rang back with his decision I then agreed it appeared to be the no-brainer option.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You deserve a good parent prize.

  10. Anonymous Coward 15
    FAIL

    >online

    >forcing

    The same way Nigerian princes keep forcing me to give them my bank details?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The context generally involves blackmail. The fact that there was material available to blackmail the subjects with in the first place is part of the problem, but once it has fallen into the wrong hands threats to release it to friends and family can quite reasonably be described as 'force'.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        I think in most cases it is not any kind of blackmail but the perp pretending that he is a he/she of similar age and is infatuated with the target, with the latter having no idea who really is on the other end of the internets.

        Blackmail seems to come into play with older age groups, like that recent case in the US.

  11. Dave 15

    Frankly don't believe a word of it

    This is just part of the continuing campaign to introduce filters, regulation, spying, censorship by government. It will be done in the name of 'child protection' with out a single verifiable incident being provided - just 'rumours' and 'innuendo' from people who want to introduce these controls. This is effectively the same as the controls on 'copyright content' which have been introduced to 'protect revenue' (of companies who don't even have the products they are protecting available for purchase).

    The western governments are all running scared of the internet since the 'Arab spring' and the proven ability to create protest moves (such as the fuel protest a few years ago in the UK).

    Frankly I don't believe one single kid has ever performed a sex act on a 'smart phone' (or any other phone) for some weirdo at the other end of an internet connection, its just too far fetched to be plausible.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: Frankly don't believe a word of it

      Guess someone believes it or they wouldn't have thumbed down the post... what evidence do you have?

      1. Desk Jockey

        Re: Frankly don't believe a word of it

        I have not voted you either way, but two big flaws in your argument.

        The Arab spring and kiddie grooming have no link whatsoever. The people in charge of stopping 'threats to the state' have no professional interest in chasing down kiddie fiddlers. They leave that part to the police who are under-resourced and pissed-off at being screwed over their pay and pensions by the coalition. Don't expect them to help the government stamp on political dissent because they won't.

        As for kids never committing sexual acts on a phone, you really have no clue how stupid kids can be do you? Someone can groom them on a chat site, get their phone numbers, exchange lots of saucy texts and then 'persuade' them to send revealing pictures of themselves, probably by first sending a picture of 'themselves' (probably from an earlier mark). Dumb little Johnnie/Gilly will then send something back. Rinse and repeat and before long the peado has a nasty photo library to dribble over and to share with their mates. Not only is this scenario likely, it is well documented to have already happened.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Frankly don't believe a word of it

          Desk Jockey - I know this might not be a popular thing to say, but in the whole harm debate, someone having a bunch of photos which they wank over from a distance is actually trivial. The whole mess started with grooming for meetings leading to physical sexual encounters - something that is probably on most people's radar as undesirable. Personally, I see this long-distance grooming to be infinitely more acceptable, and to be honest, I don't care if someone gets their jollies from a photo, however obtained, of my kids, my wife, my cats, or me, in any state of dress or undress, as long as I don't know about it (because in the first two cases, I would be made to care about it by society and my wife).

          Hopefully, eventually it will become so common to have photos of skin and sex that it will not be death of a career if they come out, and blackmail as a result will become impossible.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Frankly don't believe a word of it

      oh no, I know adults that have been that stupid, so you can guarantee kids will do it as well, but whenever the Government or the media start screaming "think of the children" or "beware the terrorists, you KNOW that the last thing on their mind is the welfare of kids, the public, etc but an excuse to feather the nests of their mates who hawk crappy software,consultancy,etc.

  12. Desk Jockey
    Big Brother

    Wrong spin?

    Surely CEOP are meant to be saying this is a success story rather than the usual scaremongering. Did the press officer get sent the wrong instructions?

    As the number of peados trying to meet the kids has reduced from 12% to 7%, this would indicate that they are scared of being caught thanks to recent high profile operations etc. Thus they have switched tactics to just grooming kids online for pictures which, bad as it may be, is less harmful than any kind of physical contact. The police are doing their bit, now the parents need to do theirs as the police isn't going to monitor their kids' phones/internet. (we hope!)

    Rather difficult to 'force' anyone to do much online without use of blackmail material. The journo is being a bit loose with the wording there!. I think the proper phrase is 'coerce'.

  13. marturion

    How about this option?

    No cameras in cell phones for anyone under 18? Why do they need cameras? I'm sure the phone manufacturers would scream bloody murder. Foolsih you say?

  14. Lone Gunman

    Show me the money ...

    Saw this on the news this morning and my first thought was CEOP must be after some more funding. They seem to pop up when they think they might get a handout (it is budget time shortly after all).

    It's good to see them raising parental responsibility though as its about time more parents did take responsbility and teach their children about the pitfalls of being online (along with any other sort of dangers) in the same way they should be teaching them the Green Cross Code.

  15. Old Handle

    Real problem, wrong approach

    On the one hand, I don't want to give the impression this isn't serious, it can be very bad. As another comment pointed out, it often involves blackmail. The basic scenario is a seemingly harmless online version of the "show me yours. I'll show you mine" game suddenly turns deadly serious when the other person threatens to show the picture to "everybody" unless their demands are met. Unsurprisingly those demands often involve creating even most explicit pictures, so cooperating isn't likely to end well.

    But on the other hand, talking about this breathlessly in vague terms peppered with think-of-the-children-isms serves nobody, except maybe the child safety charities. It mostly involves teens, so paedophiles (in the proper sense of the term) have little to do with it. In fact the abuser could quite easily be a peer, perhaps just a bit older. The efforts of well-meaning parents and others can even backfire if they don't understand the real situation. If all they do is hammer home the "don't be naughty on the internet" point, that actually adds strength to the threat, since the prospect of parents finding out is one of the scariest parts of such blackmail.

    Certainly young people should be warned about this danger, but they also need to feel like they can talk to their parents freely about any trouble they get in online, no matter what.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just make pornography illegal!

    It's the cause of all of this!

    We don't need that sick filth corrupting the minds of our precious youth!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    Seems more like what we have is a push to get the gov't to pony up more resources.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Harmfulness?

    Put the following activities in order of harmfulness:

    ... (a) masturbation

    ... (b) eating junk food

    ... (c) breathing in second hand smoke.

    How does the harmfulness change if you put them in front of a webcam?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horse, Door, Stable, Closed..etc

    net-cop quango the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre warned today. It said, after carrying out joint research with the University of Birmingham

    Hmm, could it be to detract from a court case currently about Asians targetting children in the west midlands?

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  21. Brian Morrison
    FAIL

    All I can say...

    ...is that in another year or so both of my children will be officially adult and can then do whatever they want without needing to ask me for permission, not that they really ask now.

    I'm quite glad that the smartphone/online bullying thing is only now coming to prominence now that they're older, but interestingly both of them have for some years now set passwords on their phone which makes it difficult for other people to post anything purporting to be from them. From discussion with them, most of the really problematic spats and arguments come from misuse of other people's phones whether it is abusive texts, signing people up for something that costs money or the risk that someone will deliberately visit an illegal site and download dodgy images onto someone else's phone.

    As a society we have a lot to learn, I am trying to impart tolerance in my children and convince them that it is often compassionless competition where many of the ills begin. Where we really have it wrong is the way that irrelevant misdeeds from one's youth can be stored in one's records for decades. Being able to forget things long past is an essential, we've all been hotheaded youth at one time or another.

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