Preschool children will be warned about the dangers of online predators through an Australian Federal Police program.
Preschool children will be warned about the dangers of online predators through an Australian Federal Police program.

Can’t read or write - but already victims

KIDS in daycare and kindergarten will be warned by police about online grooming and sexting, as seasoned officers are left shocked by the age of victims.

Children as young as four - many unable to read and write - are uploading sexually explicit images on the internet and falling prey to predators.

The Australian Federal Police will today launch a recalibrated ThinkUKnow cyber training program for those in daycare up to Year 2.

Some Queensland children don't go to kindy, but those aged four and five instead attend daycare, where they receive a kindy-type education.

The AFP runs the program but state police will attend schools and kindies to provide seminars to teachers and pupils. The program will be rolled out from next month.

Kids will be taught about safe and appropriate internet use, about not sharing too much personal information, not speaking to strangers online, cyberbullying, and where to get help if things go wrong. Some of the information could be imparted through cartoons.

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the online world could be dangerous and action needed to be taken "fast" to protect children.

"Our law enforcement agencies are seeing shocking incidents of children as young as four producing sexually explicit material, uploading it to social media, and subsequently engaging with online child sex offenders,'' Mr Taylor said. "As a parent, these reports are deeply concerning.

"We need to closely supervise our children online, and we also need to ensure they are taught how to identify suspicious online behaviour, and how to block and report offensive apps and sites."

But the presentations will also warn parents that if devices are taken off children after an incident, they may feel they are being punished and be reluctant to speak up in future.



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