Paedophiles using satnav to track down children
Published 24/11/2011 | 12:24
Vulnerable children are being tracked down by sex abusers using satellite navigation technology, child protection officials have revealed.
Children who click on a function adding their location to posts could find their position is discovered to within a few yards by someone grooming them online Photo: ALAMY
Paedophiles are using "find a friend" technology on social networking sites such as Facebook to work out where potential victims are.
Children who click on a function adding their location to posts could find their position is discovered to within a few yards by someone grooming them online, using satnav.
The technology is even enabling paedophiles to create digital maps of potential targets.
In another technique to snare children, they have been sending youngsters smartphones which already have global positioning systems turned on.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) warned children: "If you do want to use these sort of apps, you need to remember to use your privacy settings and remove anyone you don't know or don't trust from your contacts."
Anne-Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo's, said "sophisticated" abusers were tracking victims as young as 10 using mobile phone technology.
A spokesman for the charity said: "We want children and parents to be aware of the increased risks posed by activating certain features on devices.
"Vulnerable young people have been targeted by paedophiles who reward them with a mobile phone. Technology allows that phone to be used as a tracking device."
Details emerged as the Government unveiled a far-reaching action plan to stop exploitation going unpunished.
Children's minister Tim Loughton announced plans to review sex education and provide more support for child victims in court as he said abuse was on a greater scale than the public realise.
He said: "This country has to wake up to the fact that children are being sexually abused in far greater numbers than was ever imagined.
"It could be going on in every type of community and in every part of the country.
"Too many local areas have failed to uncover the true extent of child sexual exploitation in their communities and failed to properly support victims and their families."