Webwatch – The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre

As readers of this column will know, we enthusiastically believe that the web offers great potential for communication and learning, as well as for fun and leisure.  But we also recognise legitimate concerns about the dangers, especially for children and vulnerable people.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is part of UK police and is dedicated to protecting children from sexual abuse. While a major part of its work is building intelligence and bringing offenders to account, there is strong emphasis on working in partnership with children’s charities, education, government, business and other interested groups to educate children and parents.

As part of its educational remit the CEOP Centre has developed the ThinkuKnow website to break down some of the mystique about the children’s use of the web and give practical and simple advice to help children stay safe online.  It encourages parents, teachers and anyone working or caring for children or young people to use these resources.

ThinkuKnow is divided into five sections: 5-7; 8-10, 11-16, parents and carers; and teachers and trainers. The parents and carers section includes help on how to understand web terminology (SPAM, avatar etc.) and a quiz to test your knowledge.

The teachers’ section (free but you have to register) includes resources to encourage young people to have fun with new technology, while staying in control of the risks, as well explaining what children should do if they have any concerns. The resources include films, presentations, games, lesson plans and posters which cover issues such as grooming by sexual predators, children’s risk taking behaviour online and cyberbullying.

If you work with children, ThinkuKnow offers a simple introduction to the jargon, what it’s all about, where the risks lie and how to stay safe.