North Rhine-Westphalia: Internet: contact with children often with sexual intentions

There are dangers lurking on the Internet - the police in North Rhine-Westphalia want to make children and young people more aware of this.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Internet: contact with children often with sexual intentions

There are dangers lurking on the Internet - the police in North Rhine-Westphalia want to make children and young people more aware of this. A recent survey shows how important the campaign is, because more and more adults are writing to boys and girls, asking to meet up, and sending naked pictures.

Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - According to a survey, children and young people in Germany are increasingly being contacted on the Internet by adults with sexual intentions. The police in North Rhine-Westphalia wants to raise awareness of this danger with a campaign. "Unsuspecting children and young people are manipulated by people they think are their own age, potential abusers sneak into their trust and play with their emotions," said Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) on Friday, the European Day for the Protection of Children from Sexualized Exploitation and Sexual Violence.

According to a recent survey of children and young people in Germany commissioned by the State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, 24 percent of them have already been asked to make an appointment online by adults. That's a significant increase. In the survey a year ago, it was still 20 percent. In October 2022, for this year's survey, 2002 boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 17 were selected by the institute "KB

The answers of the younger ones in particular indicate a worrying development: 20 percent of the eight and nine-year-olds surveyed were asked to make an appointment, 10 percent were sent unsolicited nude pictures, as can be seen from the survey of the 377 boys and girls in this age group. Just over a year ago, 9 and 7 percent of eight- and nine-year-olds, respectively, said so.

Additionally, 19 percent of 10-12 year olds (690 respondents) were contacted online by people claiming to be a photographer, talent scout or modeling agent urging to meet. Last year it was 10 percent.

47 percent of the secondary school students were asked to make an appointment, 42 percent were promised something in return for a photo or video by an adult online contact. Among high school students, 19 and 15 percent respectively had this experience.

Reul said on Friday that the screen time of children and young people had increased again during the pandemic. "They stay online more often and longer. However, the Internet harbors many dangers." It is important that children get better media skills. Parents should talk to them early on about possible dangers on the Internet. According to the survey, two-thirds of the children and young people surveyed would like the topic of cybergrooming to be dealt with more at school.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, the police in North Rhine-Westphalia want to draw attention to the phenomenon with postings in social networks. The days of action should last from Monday to Friday. Since October 2021, it has been possible to give the State Criminal Police Office low-threshold information about sexual abuse or violence against children using a specially set up telephone number. The Ministry of the Interior said that almost 400 calls had been received so far. In 130 cases, existing criminal proceedings were enriched or new criminal proceedings initiated.

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