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Kids told to 'wise up to the Net'

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The UK Government has launched a £1.5 million advertising campaign to warn children and parents about the potential dangers of paedophiles lurking on the Net.

This comes less than a week after an international paedophile ring was smashed with the arrest of 130 suspects from 19 countries.

Today's initiative urges children and their parents to "wise up to the Net" The campaign highlighst the threat from paedophiles developing relationships with youngsters in chatrooms with the intention of abusing them offline - a process known as grooming.

And with the help of ChildLine, Childnet International, the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the Government has produced a booklet for parents and carers giving advice for safe Net use.

"Paedophiles are dangerous - not Internet chatrooms," said Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes.

"This campaign is not intended to alarm people, but to alert them to the potential dangers that young people may face online and to help them surf in safety.

"The risk of a paedophile using Internet chat to contact a child is low - we aim to make it lower."

Five million children in the UK use Internet, according to estimates cited by the Government, but reported cases of paedophiles successfully grooming children remain low.

In March, the Government teamed up with TV personality, Carol Vorderman, to produce the Superhighway Safety pack giving advice to schools about Net use.

A booklet containing help regarding this current campaign can be obtained by calling UK Online on 0800 77 1234. Alternatively, it's available at wiseuptothenet.co.uk. ®

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