Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Perverts Target Childcare Website

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Perverts Target Childcare Website

Article excerpt

A self-help website for parents has been infiltrated by perverts pushing child porn, The Journal can reveal today.

Tumble Tots, which runs activities for pre-school children across the country, yesterday immediately shut down its message board for parents following a warning from The Journal that obscene links to teenage and child porn web sites had been posted.

Hundreds of pre-school children across the North regularly attend Tumble Tots play programmes every week. Yesterday parents were angered to hear perverts had been using the website - normally used for help and advice on child care - to push their material.

The shock discovery comes just days before a relaunch of the Tumble Tots website, which will include a play area for children to access.

Maria Barker, who has run Tumble Tots' Newcastle franchise for the past 14 years, and has 450 members in the area, added: "It is sickening. I'm absolutely outraged that the Tumble Tots site should have been targeted in this manner.

"I have two children, a son of 15 and a daughter of 17, who both use the Internet to revise for their exams. It bothers me that they could easily click on to some obscene website, but these messages have been posted on message boards aimed at parents of very young children.

"It sickens me to think a child might have been able to click on one of the links and get through to a porn site."

Carol Lord, 40, from Newcastle, whose two children, Ruby, three, and Stephen, six, regularly attend Tumble Tots sessions, said: "It is very alarming. You don't know with computers where it's coming from. There are so many ways of putting on information.

"It could be people doing it for kicks or a paedophile. It is not nice to think that material like this is appearing on such a website."

Last night Tumble Tots had added its own message apologising for the removal of the facility as "sadly we have had external persons adding offensive material."

The UK-based organisation, which was started in 1979 by ex-national Olympic Gymnastics Coach, Bill Cosgrave, has more than 60,000 members nationally. …

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