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UK gov ads warn kids of net perils

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The government has announced a new radio and web advertising campaign which warns kids of the perils of the internet.

The ads are launched today to coincide with Parents Online Week, and "reflect real life scenarios" to make young users aware of the dangers of net paedophiles. Paul Goggins, the Home Office minister charged with child protection, said: "Awareness of the dangers posed by paedophiles using the internet is extremely high among 11-14 year olds, but we know that despite this some children still put themselves at risk. We need to ensure our public awareness campaign continues to reach the right people with the right messages.

"The case in Lancashire where a 'respected' family man groomed several young girls by posing as a modeling agent highlights the small but very real risk to children from paedophiles. We have used this as a scenario in one of our new online ads where a paedophile offers young girls the prospect of a modeling contract and asks them to go to his studio."

Detective Inspector Neil Hunter of Lancashire Constabulary's Public Protection Unit added: "This incident in Lancashire highlights the dangers of young people engaging with individuals on the internet who they don't know and who claim to be somebody they are not. Lancashire Constabulary treat all offences of this nature extremely seriously and they are thoroughly and sensitively investigated by specially trained officers.

"Young people should continue to use the internet safely and never reveal personal details about themselves or arrange to meet anyone through the internet without being certain who they are, and only do so with their parents' or carers' permission. Parents and carers also have a responsibility to take an active interest and establish who their children are engaging with on the internet."

Kids and their parents can get some guidance at www.thinkuknow.co.uk. The ad campaign will run until the end of January 2005. ®

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