The internet can be a minefield these days, and now parents are being urged to make sure they know what they children are looking at online.
To mark Safer Internet Day today, Central Bedfordshire’s Community Safety Partnership has issued some internet safety advice for parents and young people.
For parents, this includes getting to know the sites which their children use and talking to them about the potential risks of using the internet.
And for children this includes information about the dangers of sending and receiving indecent images over the internet.
The advice ties in with the overarching message of ‘let’s create a safer internet together’ – the theme of the 11th annual Safer Internet Day.
Safer Internet Day began in 2004 as an opportunity to get people of all ages involved in making the internet a safer and better place for our children and young people.
Such has been its impact that it is now marked in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Councillor Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “With so many different ways of going online these days, internet safety is more relevant than ever, both for children and their parents.
“The internet is a fantastic place where children can learn, have fun and keep in touch with friends, and they should be comfortable exploring its limitless opportunities.
“However, youngsters also need to be aware of its dangers and the fact that there could be people out there wanting to exploit them.
“Young people are often so much more internet savvy than adults these days, which is why it’s also vital that parents make sure they know what their children are looking at online and who they are talking to.
“A seemingly friendly stranger could be anything but.”
The Community Safety Partnership’s online safety advice includes links to Bedfordshire Police and CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Centre) where further information is available, plus ways of reporting online issues.
Help is also available from the local Safeguarding Children Board, which co-ordinates the work done by various agencies in Central Bedfordshire to safeguard children and also ensures that this work is carried out effectively.
Cllr Versallion, who is an observer on the CBSCB, added: “It is easy to dismiss advice about online safety. However, by taking a moment to think before you download a photo it could save you a lot of worry in the future.”
For more information visit the Central Beds Website