Norfolk Police offers advice to keep children safe online following app fears

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Norfolk Police has offered advice on how to keep children safe online.

On Friday the Diss Express reported how Diss High School had advised parents to close down their child’s ooVoo account. Norfolk Police had informed the school that known “sexual predators” were using the messaging app, which the school believed a number of Year 7 pupils were using.

Parents shouldn’t feel apprehensive about being too inquisitive about their children’s lives. Rules around internet use should be set to help their child to understand that strangers online are still strangers and they need to keep their personal information private

A Norfolk Police spokeswoman said: “Internet safety is high on the agenda for the police and we do all we can to help create a safer online environment for young people and all internet users.

“So many young people have ready access to electronic gadgets and parents need to have important conversations with their children about who they may be chatting to online and what they may be sharing about themselves.

“Children do not need to be discouraged from using social networking sites but we can help teach them about protecting their personal information and themselves.

“Parents shouldn’t feel apprehensive about being too inquisitive about their children’s lives. Rules around internet use should be set to help their child to understand that strangers online are still strangers and they need to keep their personal information private.”

The spokeswoman added Norfolk Police “remains committed” to promoting online safety of children through a number of initiatives.

These include Supporting the NSPCC’s ‘Share Aware’ programme, launched last year which aims to encourage adults to speak with their children about the dangers the online world can bring, the Safer Schools Partnership, where officers support schools in promoting the do’s and don’ts of internet use to pupils in schools across Norfolk, and the Safeguarding Children Online Team (SCOLT), dedicated to investigating on-line grooming, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and possession and distribution of illegal images.

Further advice offered by the police includes: 
-Talk to your child

Preventing your child from using the internet and devices won’t keep them safe, so talk them through how to stay safe and what to do if they feel uncomfortable.

-Ask your child what they do online

Let your child show you what games they play and websites they use so you can be aware of their activity.

-Set rules and agree boundaries

Agree the amount of time they spend online, who they share photos and information with and websites they can use.

-Make sure your child’s privacy is protected

Check the privacy settings on their accounts, especially with social networks and games.

-Check your child knows how to use reporting tools

Explain to your child what to do if they see inappropriate content or is contacted by a stranger.

Grooming is a process of manipulating a child to gain control over them. Anyone concerned about behaviour can report this directly to CEOP via www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre.

Parents can also visit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s (CEOP) ‘Thinkuknow’ website at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/ for more information.

For more information about ‘Share Aware’ visit the NSPCC website at www.nspcc.org.uk/shareaware.

Parents can also contact the NSPCC’s 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk or call the free, 24-hour Childline helpline on 0800 1111 or get help online at www.childline.org.uk.