A Lancashire school is warning parents to keep their children safe online after a ‘highly sexual’ video of two children was shared on social media.
Parents of children at Hodgson Academy, Poulton, were alerted to ‘an extremely inappropriate video of a highly sexual nature’ that had been received by some of the school’s students via Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
The video had been posted by ‘an unknown female’.
The warning, from deputy principal Iain Siddall, read: “Please could you be extra vigilant around your child’s access on social media and if they have received this video link we request that you delete it immediately.
“We would like to assure you that our safeguarding policy has been adhered to and this matter has been reported to the appropriate authorities who are currently investigating.”
It is understood the video contains footage of two children from the Hampshire area.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
A Hampshire Police spokesman said: “Officers are investigating following a report of a video containing indecent images of two children from the Hampshire area being shared extensively on social media.
“Specialist officers have been supporting those involved to ensure their safety.
“A 25-year-old man from Stockport has been arrested in connection with this investigation and remains in police custody at this time.
“Officers would like to remind people that it is an offence to hold or share such content, and if you do receive images or video content, you should delete them immediately.”
Further to the warning sent out to Hodgson Academy parents, Mr Siddall said: “The safeguarding team at the academy were alerted to an inappropriate video, unrelated to the academy, that was available for students to download via social media.
“In accordance with our safeguarding procedures we notified the appropriate authorities and parents so that they can take necessary steps to safeguard their children at home.”
The warning was issued just one day before the National Crime Agency claimed there was an ‘urgent need to educate children’ about the risks of sex offenders using online live-streaming platforms to carry out abuse.
In a report released by the NCA yesterday, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the national police chiefs’ council lead for child protection, said: “We need internet companies to help us stop access to sexual abuse images and videos and prevent abuse happening on their platforms.
We need parents and carers to talk to their children about healthy relationships and staying safe online.”
In an online NCA survey, 84 per cent of parents said they were alert to the potential dangers their children face online, with just over 30 per cent admitting to not speaking with their child about internet safety in the past month.However, 58 per cent of parents were unsure about whether they had adequate online security.
Zoe Hilton, head of safeguarding at the National Crime Agency, said: “We know that as children’s online habits change, offenders are adapting with them. These individuals are learning how young people communicate online and are using this knowledge to contact, befriend and abuse them.”
Help at hand
Both adults and children who are concerned about the potential dangers of sex abuse on social media can reach out to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, which aims to bring online predators to justice.
The CEOP’s “Thinkuknow” website offers advice to children about keeping safe online and help to parents who suspect a child may be in danger.
Go online at www.thinkuknow.co.uk.