ThinkuKnow is an education campaign that highlights the risks of the internet. CEOP’s public support coordinator, Hannah Bickers, invites readers to participate

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) was created in April 2006 as a national centre dedicated to fighting child sex abuse. It combines law enforcement with industry, specialist children’s charities, the DfES and other interested bodies. Together we work in partnership to protect children, young people, families and society from paedophiles and sex offenders, in particular those who use the internet and other new technologies in the sexual exploitation of children.

The internet can be a fantastic place for young people to learn, have fun and engage with their family and friends. There are, however, risks, which children and young people need to be aware of to ensure they can protect themselves. It is vital that CEOP focuses not only on those who seek to exploit children online, but also on their potential victims. We want to empower children by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to manage the risks, and by showing them what to do if they need help.

Introducing ThinkuKnow
ThinkuKnow is CEOP’s education campaign, created specifically for children and young people as part of the centre’s Harm Reduction Strategy. The campaign highlights what young people most need to know about the risks they may encounter using the internet, using three core themes:

  • how to have fun online
  • how to stay in control online
  • how to report online.

ThinkuKnow includes an interactive presentation which CEOP aims to deliver to all secondary age children between the ages of 11 and 16. The presentation is part of a package which includes films, leaflets, posters, and a training pack for all child protection professionals in the UK. There are also plans to roll the programme out to primary age children in the future.

The development of ThinkuKnow
The ThinkuKnow presentation was built around the lessons learned from a similar, earlier programme called Getting To Know It All. This programme was successfully piloted in November 2005 to 40,000 children in the UK by schools’ liaison officers and industry partners. This programme was evaluated by the University of Bristol. CEOP developed ThinkuKnow based on the university’s report.

ThinkuKnow on the Web
As part of the wider education programme, the ThinkuKnow website has been designed especially for young people. It aims to encourage young people to share what they know, and don’t know, about the internet. The website includes games, information on new technology, chatting, gaming and blogging, and how to report anything that they think is suspicious. CEOP also provides advice and guidance for parents and care givers about the use of the internet, enabling them to understand how people use the web on a daily basis.

ThinkuKnow in motion
Since July, we have trained over 500 school liaison officers, educational professionals and local safeguarding children’s board members to deliver the programme. With their help it will be delivered to over 52,000 young people by the end of 2006. We continue to offer training to professionals who can deliver the programme to more young people. This is where we need your help!

Play a part in ThinkuKnow
Do you and your colleagues want to be trained to deliver this fun and interactive presentation, and help us to empower our young people to use the internet safely?

CEOP will provide all the training you need, covering not just the complete presentation but also the relevant child protection information. There will be a script, as well as pre-written notes. All of these resources are paid for by CEOP, available at no cost to you. We also offer regional training sessions, ensuring that any travel costs for attendance are kept to a minimum. This training will continue until December.

Free marketing resources will be provided from posters, leaflets and stickers, to lanyards and thumb rings. Once trained, you will be able to use the presentation and resources as required, as part of any ongoing programmes on internet safety and in any face-to-face contact you may have with young people.

CEOP believe this programme is vital to ensure that internet safety messages are consistent throughout the UK and based on robust knowledge and evaluation. This is also a view shared and supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

If you would like more information on ThinkuKnow, or would like to be involved in the delivery of our programme, then please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Contact CEOP by calling tel: 0870 000 3344