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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 18:22 GMT
Virtual police for internet kids
Jim Gamble
Jim Gamble said the videos were very hard-hitting
An education campaign aimed at keeping Northern Ireland's teenagers safe while using the internet has been launched.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's project allows them to tap into a "virtual police service".

Chief Executive Jim Gamble said it would empower children while using the internet.

He said one in 12 children will meet someone in person after having chatted to them online.

"We know we cannot be everywhere all of the time, so we have created an interactive package going into the classroom," he said.

"This is supported by a comprehensive website, where young people can go an be informed.

"The unique thing is that they can report directly, 24/7, to a multi-agency environment manned by police officers with support from child protection specialists."

'Intellectually engaging'

Mr Gamble said if a child was asked to remove clothing while on a webcam or was engaged in a conversation of a sexual nature they could report this on a website, www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) would then assess the risk that the person posed.

"We recognise children occupy the internet in a way that we just simply don't understand or comprehend," said Mr Gamble.

"This education programme is about emotionally and intellectually engaging them by showing them what can go wrong.

"Some of the videos are very hard-hitting."

He said the quickest time the agency had responded to a report from a child which led to an individual being arrested was within two hours.

"Very often that is about a partnership between some undercover officers in Canada with the CEOP team here in the UK."

BBC Newsline's Tara Mills reports on the new website

Pupils reminded of internet safety
20 Sep 06 |  Education
New centre to combat net abuse
15 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland

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