A former Victorian police detective and founder of child abuse and trafficking charity Project Karma is calling on all parents to remain vigilant when it comes to their child’s online usage, as the rise of online predators sparks major concerns.
Project founder Glen Hulley said COVID-19 restrictions could increase the risk of children being exposed to online predators.
“Thanks to COVID-19, young kids are spending more and more time online, which makes them more vulnerable to online predators,” Mr Hulley said.
“In normal circumstances, there can be on average 750,000 predators online. We have seen this grow exponentially since isolation was introduced around the world.”
He said that while Australian students are largely undergoing homeschooling during term two, the risk of being attacked or manipulated online is growing every day and parents should be vigilant.
“Kids are spending more time online because mum and dad are working from home too and want to keep them occupied,” he said.
“The lack of awareness and policing around online use is a major concern and opens up the greater risk of kids being stalked and predated online, especially since the span of control to moderate and monitor them is too wide.”
In response, Project Karma is running an emergency appeal to help roll out online tools to help teachers, parents and children stay safe and vigilant.
“Our goal is to keep all kids safe, but we really need to work together to ensure all kids, learning from home or surfing the internet, are safe, vigilant and armed with the tools to stop falling victim to online predators.”
Since its inception, Project Karma has assisted Australian and international organisations in the arrests of several known paedophiles and works heavily in the Asia-Pacific region to provide educational, rehabilitation and rescue programs for children who have fallen victim to abuse.