Keep your kids safe online
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is encouraging parents to be more mindful about what their children do online.
As technology evolves, children spend more time online via tablets, phones and laptops for example, which gives online criminals more opportunity to exploit young people. Perpetrators may target children by encouraging them to share nude images of themselves, blackmail with threats to expose these images to their friends and family, with the purpose of gaining sexual favours in return.
Some tips to help keep your child safe online are:
- Place parental controls on devices for younger children to ensure they cannot access adult content or sites.
- Set limits around appropriate websites and time spent online.
- Have an open conversation with your children about what is and is not appropriate to share online e.g., address, school or images of any kind with those they don’t know.
- Check any new app or website that your child asks for, to make sure it is appropriate.
More tips and advice can be found online at www.getsafeonline.org
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The internet can be a wonderful tool, but it can also be dangerous to those who are vulnerable.
“As technology advances, our children will spend more time online and, as parents, it is our responsibility to make sure they are safe as possible and know what they are up to.
“Just because our children are in our sight does not mean that they are safe from criminals.
“Online criminals can use fake profiles, the promise of material objects and ‘romantic’ gestures to lure young people offline and to meet in person.
“No one wants to see their children be abused, so it is essential that we use the tools and information available to help us protect our family.
“By knowing what platforms our children are on and who they are talking to, we can monitor what they are up to. Putting child safety restrictions in place can also prevent our children from visiting potentially risky websites and apps.
“The best way to protect our children is to speak to them about the potential dangers online, what is and is not appropriate to share online and warn them about people who may be out to hurt them.
“It is also important to make sure they feel comfortable and safe enough to raise their concerns to you when they or a friend is talking to someone online that may not be honorable.
“I fund the Cyber and Digital Crime Unit in Cumbria to focus on cyber-crime, help catch criminals and protect victims that have been targeted by online offenders. They do a fantastic job that can prove difficult, as online crime can take place anywhere in the world. This is why prevention and education are key for online safety.
“I also commission Get Safe Online in Cumbria to provide information and training sessions to groups in Cumbria and urge anyone who is worried about their child’s online safety, to visit www.getsafeonline.org to learn more about how you can protect your children as best you can.
“If you believe that your child or someone they know if involved in child sexual exploitation, either as a victim or a perpetrator, please report it to the police immediately on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”
Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop, Cumbria Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We would encourage all parents and guardians to continue to talk to their children about online safety.
“Knowing what your child is viewing online or who they are engaging with is vital. There are criminals who will look to exploit young people and will aim to contact them via various means, this includes online chatrooms, gaming networks and other social media apps.
“Our officers and PCSOs continue to work with schools and youth clubs to engage with young people and bring to their attention the dangers which can lurk online.
“Regularly speaking to your child about their online activity, such as you would in asking them how their school day had gone, is a positive way of being aware of what they are doing online and may encourage them to raise any concerns with you directly.
“For more information on online safety, I’d encourage parents to visit our website where you can learn more about the devices children use and how you can help keep them safe.”