As part of the celebration of the International Day of Missing Children, at the initiative of EUROPOL, and in cooperation with the European Police Expert Network for Missing Persons and AMBER alert Europe, this year the campaign #DontBeACatch – #NemojPostatiLovina was initiated, which, along with 23 European countries, actively joined by the police of the Republic of Croatia.

This year’s campaign is aimed at protecting children against online grooming, ie raising awareness of the dangers of establishing a relationship of trust and emotional connection between a child or young person and (most often) an adult through communication technologies, with the aim of recruiting and exploiting them for sexual purposes. The campaign seeks to educate children and young people, as well as their parents, about the potential dangers of an online (virtual) world in which predators sexually abuse and exploit children through manipulative techniques, misrepresentation and other means of recruitment.

On that occasion, journalist Barbara Golja published a report in Dnevnik Nova TV in which the director, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, presented the results of two national researches of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center: from 2013 “Experiences and behaviors of children on the Internet and on the social network Facebook” and from 2019 “Social online experiences and mental health of young people”.


“Don’t be a catch, the action of the Ministry of the Interior is directed at children who are increasingly victims of sexual predators on the Internet and their parents. Unfortunately, only 10% of cases are reported, which means that there are several hundred juvenile victims of sexual abuse per year.


“A 15-year-old child recently called us just before leaving to meet with that person because its felt scared” said Vesna Katalinić, a social worker at Brave Phone.

According to the data of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, in 2013 only 2.3% of children corresponded with unknown persons, in 2019 68% of them did so.

In 2013 , 8% of young people went to meet an unknown person online , and in 2019, every third child, ie 35% of them, went to meet an unknown person.

“We gave the tool to young people, but we did not teach them how to use it,” commented Gordana Buljan Flander, director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection.

She advised young people:

“Before you post content online, think five times if you want that content to ever be seen by your teacher, your mom, your dad, your classmate. If the answer is no, never put that content on the social network”, says Buljan Flander.


Marija Goatti, PUZ spokeswoman, advises: “The police should be called as soon as possible. A child who faces such great problems, either runs away from home, or gets injured.

Unfortunately, children learn careless behavior online from their parents.

As Gordana Buljan Flander said: “Unfortunately, a large number of parents put pictures of their children on social networks while they were still in the womb, pictures of newborns, with all the data, a large percentage of parents put pictures of naked children on the Internet, so in fact they are not a good model. ”



Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email