The internet is an amazing tool. It brings people from all ends of the world closer together.
But what happens when that is not necessarily a good thing.
Australian Of The Year Nominee, Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, spoke to Bianca, Mike & Bob about just how unsafe your children or teens are, even when inside your own home.
While Rouse says he is feeling ‘imposter syndrome’ being affiliated with the Australian Of The Year awards, what he has achieved as part of his team means he is more than worthy.
Rouse works as part of a ‘victim identification unit’ where the focus is not on tracking down the perpetrator but rather on identifying the child victim that has been exploited.
“My message to parents would be, and this may seem a little bit heavy handed, when your kids go to bed take their devices off them,” Rouse warned.
The Detective Inspector has dealt with thousands of cases across the years both nationally and internationally, combing through some of the most disturbing and confronting files, images and video footage.
Not even at home behind a locked door is safe anymore.
— 7 News Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) January 24, 2019
“Because what we are seeing… when they are in their bedrooms, we can hear their parents in the background, these kids have gotten themselves into circumstances where they are trapped,” he continued.
“They have done something online that a person is now using against them.
“Here’s the picture for you. We intercepted a video, the video was in the possession of a child sex offender where he had groomed this child.
“When you open up the video the first thing you see is what appears to be a 12 / 13 year old girl and she just has got tears streaming down her face.
“This individual then over the next couple of hours issues instructions to her. She bawls her eyes out, she can do nothing about it, she’s trapped because he has threatened to send this out across the internet to family, friends.
“And this is what is happening inside people’s houses.”
Then there are the child predators that don’t get caught.
Rouse insists that parents need to be vigilant. People are preying on our children. No one is exempt. It could happen to a child, teen or even adult that you know.
So how are these perpetrators manipulating young children and teens?
“Probably the most common… is that they will always purport to be someone that they’re not. They will always purport to be younger – you guys will remember the Justin Bieber case that we did,” Rouse said.
“This individual is pretending to be Justin Bieber online and 157 children across the world thought they were talking to Justin Bieber and he coerced them into doing what happend to that little girl I was discussing before, because they thought they were talking to Justin.
“And they would get free concert tickets and [the perpetrator] will then say ‘I will introduce you to an adult friend’.
“If you don’t know them in the real world, you do not know them.”
Chilling words from a man who knows what he is talking about.
So next time your children are on their phones or laptops in their bedroom, take a moment to speak with them or banish technology later at night.
Good luck to Jon Rouse at the Australian Of The Year Awards across the Australia Day Weekend.