Cheshire Police officers are urging parents to ensure their children stay safe online as the school holidays approach.
As youngsters spend more time using the internet in particular during the school holidays, officers have some top tips for parents to help protect their children whilst using the web.
By following some simple online safety advice, parents can help protect their children from increasingly common issues such as accessing inappropriate content, becoming a victim of online bullying and potentially sharing too much personal information.
• Talk regularly with your child about their and your online lives. Show you understand how important technology is to them and talk about its benefits. Don’t be nervous about raising things like responsible behaviour, bullying and adult content.
• Use parental controls on computers, mobile devices and games consoles, privacy features on social networking sites and the safety options on Google and other search engines.
• Be aware of any changes in behaviour or moods, as it may be a sign that your child is being bullied, harassed or groomed online.
• Social networking and picture sharing sites have lower age limits: find out what they are and make sure your child isn’t using age inappropriate networks and apps.
Detective Superintendent Aaron Duggan, Head of Crime at the Constabulary said: “As the holidays approach and children are preparing to break up for the Summer, we are encouraging parents to set up a daily routine to make sure they are aware of what their children are getting involved in online.
“Not everyone online is who they claim to be so parents need to know how to spot the signs if their child is being bullied, trolled, groomed or otherwise abused.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to check children are using the internet safely and securely. Youngsters already spend a lot of their time online and during the holidays this will increase and could become a big part of their daily routine engaging with potentially differing audiences through their digital devices.
“If parents take the time to follow some of the online safety advice it can make a big difference in protecting their children from any harm, the internet can be a fun, safe place if simple precautions are followed.”