Police raise concerns about online grooming and abuse

Police are warning parents and carers in the isles to be vigilant following reports of men exposing themselves to young women and girls on internet sites and encouraging them to reciprocate.

Area commander for Shetland chief inspector Angus MacInnes said the incidents involved young people using sites and applications where online chats between strangers are conducted.

He said: “The real danger of young people and children using these sites is that they can be exposed to extremely inappropriate content and are open to grooming and abuse. There are also allegations of young people being encouraged to use and copy of pornographic material in their relationships.

“Modern mobile phones or ‘smart phones’ are in essence small computers. The latest phones provide great opportunities for being more connected in the digital world, but can also therefore pose a risk for users to be identified or located, and send or receive images they may feel uncomfortable with.

“I would strongly advise parents and carers to be aware of the extent to which young vulnerable people can be exposed to such material through mobile phones, and other digital devices. It is vital that modern technology is used with responsibility and regard for safety and privacy.”

Organisations in Shetland joined forces earlier in the summer to encourage young people to use new technology safely and responsibly, holding a Facebook chat with followers on the subject of internet safety in June.

Police and local authorities are seeking to raise awareness and specifically highlight the dangers which exist for young people to find themselves in uncomfortable or compromising situations.

For more information see the Shetland Child Protection website www.childprotectionshetland.com/


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