Teens warned near naked selfies will haunt them later
POLICE are urging teenagers and children to keep their "selfies" to themselves as a part of a bid to secure children's safety online.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey this morning launched the "Your Selfie: Keep It to Yourself" campaign which was developed by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) Taskforce Argos.
"The project has been designed to highlight to children and teenagers just how easily a photo can end up in the wrong hands," Mr Dempsey said.
"The project is not about scaring children but equipping them with the knowledge to allow them to protect themselves online."
Mr Dempsey launched an updated version of Who's Chatting to Your Kids, an ebook which arms parents with the information to teach their children how to behave safely online.
"Just a few years ago we used to have to worry about who's talking to our kids on the street," he said.
"With social media we have to worry about who our children are speaking to in our own homes.
"That's why the ebook has been compiled by Taskforce Argos because it puts the power back into the hands of parents to ensure their children remain safe when online.
"Taskforce Argos has already been recognised across the world not only for its work in targeting and apprehending those who use the internet to exploit children, but also for its ground-breaking work in educating and raising awareness of the hidden dangers of social media and the internet.
"Between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013 alone, detectives from Taskforce Argos seized more than 877,000 child exploitation images and 1,039 hours of child exploitation video.
"They also helped in the rescue of 158 children both in Australia and overseas."
QPS State Crime Command Acting Assistant Commissioner Cameron Harlsey said the practice of posting selfies was a concern as selfies of children as young as 10 have been found on the computers of child sex offenders.
"I am not here to sugar coat this message. It is happening and it is happening right here in Queensland," Acting Assistant Commissioner Harlsey said.
"Young people need to understand that, just because someone else is doing it, that's not a green light to start doing it yourself.
"Taking an image with minimal clothing on and sending it to your boyfriend or girlfriend may seem like a great idea this week, but what happens if you break up with the person next week?"
The team have developed two posters as part of the project which will be available online and for distribution to high schools across Queensland, as well as incorporating the information into the "Who's chatting to your kids?" program, which has been updated to reflect the rapid advances in technology.
"For us it was not about creating something new for the sake of it. The 'Who's chatting to your kids?' project has been successful for us in getting the message out to parents," Acting Assistant Commissioner Harsley said.
"Recognising the internet and social media change almost daily, we felt it important to update the project so parents are better equipped in how to educate their children."
The first of two short films which have been produced will be available on the QPS Facebook page from today (www.facebook.com/QueenslandPolice).
The new "Who's chatting to your kids?" e-book is available to download from the Queensland Police Service website at www.police.qld.gov.au.