Cleaning up the internet of abuse images and videos - that in the worst cases depict children being raped and tortured - is a global challenge. The significant achievements of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) are crucial in this battle and this week its annual report revealed a staggering 417% increase over two years in the volume of images reported and removed.
Tackling the broader cybercrime challenge needs an orchestrated response. I wanted to highlight three ways in which law enforcement agencies are working with each other and other organisations (including my own) to tackle the real and very present danger represented by opportunistic and organised criminals online...
As with some more traditional toys, children playing in virtual worlds require some degree of adult supervision if they are to play safely. I encourage parents to use the time over the Christmas period to explore some of these resources, and to talk to their kids about what they enjoy online, show an interest and learn and explore the Internet together.
In a profound act of role reversal, we as parents, educators, law enforcement agencies, civil society, who are meant to be the guardians of children, find ourselves behind the curve. But it remains our duty to stand at the gates of childhood and protect our children from harm and that means protecting them in the digital world as well as in the physical world.
High profile hacks such as that of online dating website, Ashley Madison, and last year's attack on Sony have helped bring hacking scandals to the forefront of the news agenda, what these high profile, large scale business hacks fail to bring to light is the smaller scale cyber-attacks targeting consumers, like you and I daily, and the impact these can have on our lives.
Chances are that if you have a child approaching their 'tweens' they will soon be clamouring for a) a mobile phone b) a social media account c) a games console - all of which could enable them to chat to complete strangers anywhere in the world. The days of a family PC in the corner of the living room are long gone.