POLICE Minister Jo-Ann Miller has issued an urgent warning to parents to find out what their kids are up to online these school holidays.
Minister Miller said the disturbing case of alleged child exploitation in Warwick today highlighted the hidden dangers of the internet.
"With kids across Queensland off for their second week of school holidays, many of them will spend countless hours on the computer or using social media," Minister Miller said.
"Unfortunately, we know that some of these same apps have been embraced by child sex offenders who have proven exceptionally skilled at using them to gain access to children.
"The message I have for all parents today is that it is extremely important to take an interest in what your children are doing online.
"It's not good enough to say you don't understand Facebook or you can't work out how to use an iPhone. You need to learn about what your children are using so you can guide, assist and supervise their use."
Minister Miller said Taskforce Argos worked around the clock to catch child sex offenders using the internet and social for the purpose of meeting children.
"There is no doubt that child sex offenders will and do use social media to get children's contact details. They chat with them to lower their inhibitions and slowly introduce sexual content into conversations," Minister Miller said.
"Many of them eventually seek a face-to-face meeting with children.
"Our detectives scour the internet every day, often posing as children to weed out these people, but we can't be everywhere, and that's why parents have a vital role to play."
Minister Miller said there were a few simple ways parents could ensure their children were safe online.
"Make sure your child chooses a non-identifiable, non-gender specific username," Minister Miller said.
"They also should never, ever give out personal information, accept a friend request or a file from someone they don't know and they should never share their password under any circumstances.
"Every parent should today check their child's computer to ensure they're using age-appropriate social media apps and that their privacy settings are set correctly.
"The internet is a great resource for our kids, and this day and age it's inevitable that they'll spend a lot of time on there, but we want to ensure that parents partner with the police to ensure they are doing so safely."
For more information, download the Who's Chatting To Your Kids brochure online at www.police.qld.gov.au
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