These are commonly referred to terms and definitions that you will find in our program.

Applications (apps)

An application, commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, etc.

Apps can access the internet if needed, and can be downloaded either for a price or for free.

Behavioural actions

Otherwise known as habits, behavioural actions are strategies to prevent online child sexual exploitation that target behaviour, of both you and your child. This includes, supervision, open communication and questioning suspicious behaviour.


Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options (often labelled with three dots Image of a three dots)

Case study

The case studies used in our program are taken from the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. These case studies are de-identified reports.

Child Abuse Material (CAM) or Online Child Sexual Abuse Material

Child abuse material is material that shows or describes child sexual abuse. Under Commonwealth legislation this includes depictions of someone who is, or appears to be under the age of 18.


In the context of our program, communication involves talking and listening to your child, or the children around you about online behaviour and what they do online.

Often referred to as open communication, communication is an important part of keeping kids safe online.

It is used to:

  • Understand what your child does online, who they talk to and what they share
  • Discuss with your child about the challenges of being online, and what they can do to ensure their own safety
  • Reassure and encourage them to seek help or guidance if anything goes wrong online. 

Connected device

A connected device in this context means any electronic device (phone, console, laptop, tablet, TV, etc.) that can connect to the internet. Devices may also be connected to other devices that are attached to a network, for example an iPhone and an Apple Watch.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyse and understand different problems or topics. In the context of our program, it refers to questioning suspicious people or behaviour, questioning whether to share or interact with content, establishing strong privacy settings and knowing when to seek help or report something.

End User License Agreements (EULA)

An End- User License Agreement is a legal agreement between you and a service based on the rights to use or access a product or service. It may be based on a variety of intellectual property, including copyright, trademarks, patents, designs and trade secrets. They are commonly encountered in everyday life.

Harmful and illegal content

Harmful content includes:

  • Sexually explicit material
  • False or misleading information
  • Violence
  • Extremism or terrorism
  • Hateful of offensive material

Illegal content includes:

  • Images and videos of child sexual abuse
  • Content that advocates terrorist acts
  • Content that promotes, incites or instructs in crime or violence
  • Footage of real violence, cruelty and criminal activity.

Image-based abuse

Image-based abuse occurs when intimate, nude or sexual images are shared without the consent of those depicted, or a threat to share the content is made. This includes images or videos that have been digitally altered, photo-shopped or drawn.

Instant messaging/direct messaging

Instant messaging apps provide users with the ability to send and receive messages in real time. Users can direct message (DM) or private message (PM), with many apps now expanding beyond being ‘text’ based and now have video and audio calling capabilities.

Instant messaging apps allow group chats or conversations that can include various users, including people that may or may not be in your child’s contact lists, with some apps aiming to take advantage of perceived ‘anonymity’ with limited verification required to create an account or being using a service.

Some instant messaging apps also allow for secret conversations which means the messages are locked to one device, rather than the account, and sometimes require a password to see them.


There is both Commonwealth and State and Territory level legislation that assists in the protection of children online, including the sharing of online child sexual abuse material and online grooming.

Live streaming

Live streaming is the transmission or receiving of real time media, usually audio visual, over the internet. Live stream creators need a device with a web camera or camera and a microphone to stream live content. This can include a mobile phone, laptop or tablet.

Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE)

Online child sexual exploitation is when an individual (adult, or another child) or group uses technology or the internet to facilitate the sexual abuse of a child, including the production and sharing of child sexual abuse material online.

Online gaming

Online gaming includes video games played over a device connected to the internet and can range from simple text based games, to games incorporating complex graphics and virtual worlds. Games can be played either solo or by many players simultaneously.

Online grooming

Online grooming is when an adult makes online contact with someone under the age of 16 with the intention of establishing a relationship to enable sexual abuse. The offence occurs in the communication phase so no physical contact need ever occur for police to step in and investigate.

Parental controls

These are features you can use to restrict or limit the access of content on your child’s device. Some features include:

  • Oversight of what your child can view/watch
  • Approval of new friends
  • Oversight of messages/conversations.

Personal information

Personal information can be considered any type of identifying factors such as name, age, address, phone number, school or sporting team. This information can tell others a lot, including that your child is a child, their routine and even how to contact them.


A platform in the context of our program usually refers to the application, page or site that you are using. For example, when we say “report to the platform” we mean to report to the app you are using, i.e. “report to Instagram”.

Privacy settings

These are controls within platforms, social media applications and websites that allow you to limit who can access, view or contact your profile and information. Some settings include:

  • Approving new followers/friends
  • Users not being able to access your profile
  • Users not being able to view your photos/videos

These features can be found in applications under “Privacy settings.”

Public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi enables devices to connect to the internet wirelessly. Public Wi-Fi is sometimes unsecured, and can usually be used by anyone.

It can be found in public places like airports, cafes, libraries, shopping centres, restaurants and hotels. These places often offer Wi-Fi for free without login credentials, making it less secure than closed, private Wi-Fi networks.

Safe searching

In the context of our program, safe searching refers to thinking critically about how we search and navigate the internet. Often, people can accidentally type an incorrect web address or click a pop-up advertisement that will take them to inappropriate or harmful content. It’s important to remember to use trusted websites and applications, not click on pop-ups and make sure you are using the correct search names/titles.

Self-generated content/sexting

Self-generated child abuse material includes content of a sexual nature that is taken by a person of themselves. Depending on the circumstance, it may be referred to as personal image sharing, sexting, sending a ‘selfie’, or sending a ‘pic’. Content depicting a person under the age of 18 can be considered child sexual exploitation or abuse material, and it can be considered an offence to produce, store or distribute under Commonwealth legislation.

Sexual extortion/coercion

Sexual extortion, or sextortion, is a serious form of image‑based abuse which can be in the form of online blackmail where a perpetrator threatens to reveal explicit images of a person unless they give in to their demands. It is important to know that an offence has been committed as soon as someone asks a young person to produce and send a single explicit image or video. This is can be considered child sexual abuse and exploitation material.

In these cases, offenders can be manipulative and make a young person feel there is no way out of the situation, including blackmailing victims and threatening to share explicit content online with family, friends and acquaintances.

Social networking and social media

The internet and connected devices allow people to meet and connect online, this can be through social media. Social media includes websites and apps that allow users to create and share content and participate in social networking. With most people having a connected device, meeting people online is common through social networking platforms. Young people might use social networking apps to build and maintain relationships, showcase their creativity, look for content of interest and connect with likeminded people.

Technical actions

Technical actions are actions you and your child can take on their device to prevent online child sexual exploitation, for example:

  • Privacy settings
  • Parental controls
  • Blocking/limiting certain functions.

Terms and conditions (T&Cs)

The terms and conditions are an agreement or ‘contract’ between a provider of a service (website) and the user (you). It sets out the rights and responsibilities of anyone using the site.

It will also include what action can be taken against a user who breaks the terms as well as detail the intellectual rights of the website owner.

It includes information on use of content (copyright), rules the user must follow while interacting with others, also rules relating to cancellation of a user’s account.

Video/image sharing

Video and image sharing apps allow users to create, send and receive photos, videos and even live stream videos and other users around the world.

Video and image sharing continues to be popular with young people because it allows them to generate content to a global audience.

Young people might use these types of apps to develop their identity or showcase talent, as well as learn about the world around them.

What we do

We develop resources and advice for parents, carers and educators, children and young people to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Led by the Australian Federal Police, our program includes:

  • Presentations for schools and community groups
  • Online learning resources
  • Activities to do at home
  • Fact sheets and guides
  • Educators resources


What we don’t do

Our program doesn’t cover:

  • Information about general online safety, including cyberbullying
  • Information about cybercrime

For information about online safety visit the eSafety Commissioner

For information about cybercrime visit ReportCyber

Our partners

ThinkUKnow Australia is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Datacom and Microsoft Australia, and delivered in partnership with all State and Territory police and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

© Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and acknowledges their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging.