Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Police are increasingly receiving reports of children and young people accessing inappropriate content and being contacted by unknown individuals using apps and websites which enable video chat. There has also recently been national research published by the Internet Watch Foundation which identified that children and young people as young as seven were being exploited online on webcams and chat sites. This local and national concern serves as an opportunity for us to remind all children and young people about being safe online and work together in partnership with parents/carers.
Websites and apps such as Skype, FaceTime, Oovoo and more allow users to communicate on webcam with others and can offer amazing opportunities and experiences for children and adults alike when used safely with friends and family members. However speaking on webcam or video chat via apps on tablets and Smartphone's with sometimes unknown and unidentifiable people can leave children and young people vulnerable to online sexual exploitation including grooming and sexual abuse.
Derbyshire Police and Derbyshire County Council are aware that this behaviour is increasingly taking place on video chat apps accessed on tablets and smartphones. Some of these apps have little/ no regulation, child safeguarding approaches or mechanisms for law enforcement to use to trace and identify offenders and therefore a shared approach between children, parents/ carers, professionals and schools/ setting regarding education and awareness about safe online behaviour is essential.
The following links and documents give further information: