Predators and Sextortion

You do everything you can to keep your child safe in the ‘real world’ – why wouldn’t you do the same online?

Although online developments provide opportunities – from building support networks to finding information and entertainment, they can also present dangers to children that can be difficult to spot.

It’s hard to keep up with the rapid changes of the digital world, with new apps, social networks and interactive games. This can sometimes mean that children know more about it than we do. Even if you are not a digital expert, there are some helpful steps you can take to keep your child safe online:

  • Be as interested in your child’s digital life as you are in their school life
  • Discuss what healthy and unhealthy online behaviour looks like
  • Encourage your child to use age-appropriate sites
  • Enable your child to have digital access in the same physical space as you
  • Discuss how information can be shared online and agree privacy settings

Two key areas of concern that relate to children are Predators and Cyberbullying.


Young adults and children are especially susceptible to the predators, who are looking for personal or financial information, incriminating photos, illicit meetings, money, etc. Gaming and social sites present some of the biggest threats. Although many of these sites have age restrictions, predators may misrepresent their ages so that they can join.


Bullies use email, instant messaging, web pages, and digital photos on computers and cell phones to bully and harass others. Cyberbullying can range in severity from cruel or embarrassing rumors to threats, harassment, or stalking any age group; however, teenagers and young adults are common victims, and is a growing problem in schools. The relative anonymity of the Internet is appealing for bullies because it enhances the intimidation and makes tracing the activity more difficult. Cyberbullying can be an early warning for more violent behavior.

Help Your Children

By teaching our young adults about Internet Safety, being aware of their on-line habits, and guiding them to appropriate sites. Parents and guardians can make sure that they become safe and responsible users.

  • Teach your children good on-line habits- Explain the risks of technology, and teach children how to be responsible on-line (see Keeping Children Safe Online for more information). Reduce their risk of becoming a victim of cyberbullies by setting guidelines for and monitoring their use of the Internet and other electronic media (cell phones, computers, tablets etc.).
  • Keep lines of communication open- Regularly talk to your children about their on-line activities so that they feel comfortable telling you if they are being victimized.
  • Watch for warning signs– Watch for changes in your child’s behavior, try to identify the cause as soon as possible. If cyberbullying is involved, acting early can limit the damage.
  • Avoid escalating the situation- Often, bullies thrive on the reaction of their victims, consider avoiding the issue by block the messages on social networking sites or stop unwanted emails by changing the email address. If the bullying continues you may have a stronger case for legal action.
  • Document the activity- Keep a record of any online activity (emails, web pages, instant messages, etc.), including relevant dates and times. In addition to archiving an electronic version, consider printing a copy.
  • Report cyberbullying to the appropriate authorities- Schools have bullying programs for dealing with bullying activities involving students. If necessary, contact your local law enforcement. There is a distinction between free speech and punishable offences, so legal implications should be decided by the law enforcement officials and the prosecutors.

Online Zoo – Children’s book on safe use of internet

By Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA)

This highly recommended children’s book, which aims to contribute to education for justice in order to improve safer use of the internet at all levels, is the result of a project co-funded by the European Union and aims to contribute to UNODC’s fight against cybercrime and towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Nos 4, 5, 10 and 16.

This is an ISPA – Austrian Internet Service Providers action, as part of the initiative, aimed at children between 4 and 9 years old and aims to empower them with positive messages to benefit from the Internet safe.

You can find versions of the book in 10 languages on the ISPA website

Linha Alerta

The mission of Linha Alerta is to block illegal content on the Internet and prosecute their disseminators in an effective way. These objectives may be achieved by providing the Portuguese law enforcement agencies with collected information in order to facilitate the elimination of the illegal content and the identification of those responsible for these materials and by means of collaboration with national Internet Service Providers and international counterparts in the fight against illegal contents.

In order to carry out this core activity Linha Alerta has a website – – where one can send complaints, which may be anonymous. This service is provided in Portuguese and English. The staff are bound by professional secrecy Linha Alerta will address the following illegal contents:

  • Child abuse images;
  • Incitement to violence content; and
  • Incitement to racial hatred content.
  • The scope of Linha Alerta may be subject to further revisions according to the experience gained with this first stage of operation and the legal framework developments in Portugal.

Take the STC Social Media and Computer Safety quiz below specially designed for families to test your knowledge with correct answers provided.

There is very useful advice available on the internet to help keep children safe.