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Detective Inspector for Task Force Argos, Jon Rouse, works within a specialised branch of the Queensland Police Service responsible for investigating online child exploitation and abuse.
Det-Insp Rouse said the taskforce had encountered situations where child sex offenders had targeted single mothers on dating sites.
Cyber safety specialist for The Alannah and Madeline Foundation Jeremy Blackman, said parents sharing information on social networks and dating sites was a major concern.
Mr Blackman said France had drafted a proposal to tighten privacy laws around parents sharing pictures of their children without their permission.
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CEO for major Australian dating site Oasis.com, Dave Heysen, said Oasis urged its members to be familiar with their safe dating guidelines when meeting new people.“This rule applies to all members, including single parents,” he said.
They look for women who post photos of their children or mention them on their profiles."Mothers are posting the photos and providing personal information about their children because they think it is appropriate for any prospective or potential partner to be fully aware of their circumstances,” he said.
Det-Insp Rouse said child sex offenders had then become involved with the mothers and gained their trust.“In the cases that we have investigated, the mothers have left their children in the care of the child sex offender when they have gone shopping ...
Criminologist for child protection group Bravehearts, Carol Ronken said people typically thought predators targeted social media sites, such as Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat and Kik Messenger.“I think with increases in media attention parents are aware of the risks, but I draw parallels to what we see in relation to the statistics around child sexual assault more broadly.
Parents know it happens, know the risks, but do not think that it will affect them or their children,” she said.