UK: National Crime Agency launches internet safety site for gay teens

Nick Duffy February 13, 2014
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PinkNews exclusive
The National Crime Agency have updated their internet safety advice to include specialised advice for LGBT teens.

The ThinkUKnow website, which offers safety advice for children online, will from today include information designed to protect LGBT teens aged 11-16 online.

Jonathan Baggaley, the education officer for the National Crime Agency, told PinkNews yesterday: “Any child can be at risk, but for LGBT teens, there is an additional dynamic, as they are often using the anonymity of the internet to look for advice and support.

“This not only helps them explore what they might be feeling but allows them to keep their secrets with people they don’t know.”

He said that put LGBT teens at additional risk as “keeping the young person’s secret can be used by abusers to sexually exploit their victim, and very often children won’t realise they’re being targeted.”

He also said that in the case of trans people being harassed on the internet, they “should be aware of how quickly harassment online breaches the law”.

The LGBT resource has been designed in collaboration with Young Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland, and covers the risks of social networking, chatrooms and webcamming.

On sex education, Baggaley said that schools “need to develop a stronger focus on sex and relationships online”, as opposed to just physical relationships and abuse, although many do “fantastic work”.

He also said family-friendly filters “are part of the solution” to online abuse, but they are not a “silver bullet” or a substitute to education, and that “we have to make sure overblocking doesn’t happen”.

In December, it emerged that a number of Internet Service Providers were blocking legitimate websites as part of ‘family friendly’ internet filters.

Luke Tryl, head of education for Stonewall, said:

“All too often e-safety information ignores the specific risks faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual young people. We’re delighted that the NCA has launched specific guidance to raise awareness of some of these risks and help gay young people stay safe online.”

Since Thinkuknow was launched in 2006, CEOP has recruited 5,000 internet safety ambassadors, who have trained over 29,000 people.

More: abuse, online, Stonewall

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