HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 cc252-3W
Ms Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department is taking to raise public awareness of the dangers of children being targeted by paedophiles using internet chat rooms. [22112]

Beverley Hughes

On 3 December the Government launched a £1.5 million advertising campaign to deliver clear and consistent messages to internet users so they can enjoy the massive benefits of the internet in safety.

The campaign is split in two discrete but complementary campaigns. One aimed at parents of 11 to 14-year-olds has begun. The other, aimed at 14 to 16-year-olds, starts in early January 2002. The whole campaign will run until March.

The parents campaign started on 3 December with press advertisements in the national press and women's weekly magazines. The adverts explain the benefits of the internet and offer advice to parents on how to help their children chat safely online. Parents who want further information can call the UKonline centre (0800 77 1234) for a booklet about chatrooms or download the leaflet online by visiting www.wiseuptothenet.co.uk.

The campaign for young people will involve cinema, radio, online and teen press advertising. A dedicated website (www.thinkuknow.co.uk) will provide further information and advice.

The campaign was initiated by the task force on child protection on the internet. Created by the Home Secretary in March this year, the task force is a partnership of Government, industry, police and charitable organisations working together to tackle the danger posed to children by online paedophiles. It has two simple but ambitious aims: to make the United Kingdom the best and safest place in the world for children to use the internet; and to help protect children the world over from abuse fuelled by criminal misuse of new technologies.