With schools closed and thousands of young people having to stay at home, it’s inevitable they will turn to the internet not only for educational resources, but entertainment too.
Therefore it’s important that parents are aware of exactly what their children are accessing in their free time, whether it’s on their phone, tablet or computer.
Leicestershire Police is keen to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people so that they don’t leave themselves vulnerable now and in the future.
Katie Hudson, children and young persons’ officer for the force, explained: “Parents and carers should always take an active role and interest in their children’s online activity so that their safety isn’t compromised by those who may wish to groom and harm them in some way.
“Similarly, it’s important that young people realise that whatever they post online, stays online and they may be compromising themselves in the future, depending on what that content is.
“Basic information for parents to know is that many social media websites and chat sites have age restrictions. Be aware of these and ensure they apply to your child – age restrictions are there for a reason.
“Similarly, if your child is on social media – how often do you look at what they post and who their friends are? It’s worth checking in on this regularly. Put parental restrictions in place via the site or the device they are using.
“Talk to your child about who they accept as friends. Never accept a stranger and be wary of befriending friends of friends – if they don’t really know them, they shouldn’t accept.
“Similarly, many gaming sites give those taking part the ability to chat and connect with other people, but this too can be disabled through parental controls.”
Leicestershire Police has two films, ‘Kayleigh’s Love Story’ and ‘Breck’s Last Game’ which highlight to youngsters the potential dangers online when people present themselves differently from their real selves.
Katie added: “I would encourage parents to watch these short films on our force website to not only raise their awareness but also assess if they feel they are relevant and appropriate for their children to watch. These hard hitting stories reflect real-life situations and act as a warning to everyone to be alert about online activity, who is contacting you and why this might be the case. These films have been shown to young people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland with parental permission as young as 11 years old.”
For more information about staying safe online and how to create or use parental controls visit: