Parents have been told that they need to catch up with how their children are spending their time online.
Police fear some adults are falling behind with the fast-changing technology of the internet, mobile phones and electronic networking.
They want parents to do their bit by researching the sometimes alien world of uploading, file sharing, blogging and virtual identities.
Officers at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) launched a new website today aimed at bridging the knowledge gap.
Members of the unit, which specialises in targeting online sex predators, said it was the first police online education programme for parents.
Jim Gamble, who heads Ceop, said the move follows hundreds of events for pupils and teachers at schools and colleges across the UK.
Speaking about the events, he said: ‘One theme is ever present. Children love the internet. It is their real world in so many ways. But we also see just how far behind parents can be in understanding that new world, that new member of the family.
‘We all know that young people are uploading, downloading, file sharing and blogging but do we really know to what extent they are entering this new world, what online identities they are building, what virtual friends they are making?’
Think you know?
The website, www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents, includes guides to terminology, technology and other safety tips. It also provides examples of warning signs parents should look out for if they suspect their child is being targeted or groomed online.
Police believe that as many as one in four children go on to meet someone in person who they first met online.
Investigations have revealed paedophiles continue to use the internet to make contact with often vulnerable young people.
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