South Yorkshire Police help school children stay safe on the internet

Published Tuesday, 7th February 2017
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Officers from South Yorkshire Police will be backing international Safer Internet Day today by spreading an awareness message at local schools & sharing co-ordinated messages across Facebook & Twitter

The police will join hundreds of organisations across the UK in promoting the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology to children and young people under the slogan ‘Be The Change: unite for a better internet’.

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will be using specially commissioned education packs provided by the event organiser, The UK Safer Internet Centre, to reach youngsters and teachers.

Different messages are tailored to different age groups, and some of the topics covered include sharing images on the internet, posting personal information and the importance of telling parents if children stumble across internet content which they find upsetting.

Detective Inspector Steve Leach, Cyber Crime Co-ordinator at South Yorkshire Police, said: “Anything we can do to keep people safe online, particularly vulnerable groups such as young people and children, will have a positive impact on our communities and must be welcomed.

“Prevention is the best form of action with any crime and if we can stop just one individual from falling prey to some of the criminality that lurks online, our efforts will be worthwhile.

“Children make great advocates and we hope their enthusiasm helps them to not only absorb advice but to spread the online safety message further afield.”

One of the schools visited by officers from South Yorkshire Police today was Laughton Junior and Infants School in Laughton en le Morthen near Rotherham. PCSOs Natalie White and Simone Stacey talked to pupils about how they could stay safe online while still enjoying all the internet and social media have to offer.

Head teacher Emma Gill said: “Empowering young people to keep themselves and others safe on line is something we are committed to here at the school. Today, the police have managed to present this in a fun way which engages with the children, while still getting the safety messages across. We want our children to understand how to use technology in a fun and creative way, without putting themselves or others in danger.”

Organisers are hoping this year’s campaign, being promoted with the hashtag #SID2017, will have an even greater reach than the estimated 2.8million children and 2.5million parents reached as a result of last year’s efforts.

An evaluation survey conducted after last year’s campaign found two in five eight to 17-year-olds and one-in-five parents heard about SID in 2016, with 87 percent of youngsters saying they felt more confident about what to do if concerned about something online.

Some 68 percent of eight to 17-year-olds talked to someone in their family about using the internet safely following the campaign.

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three organisations: South West Grid for Learning, Childnet International and the Internet Watch Foundation. It’s co-funded by the European Commission and has three main functions: an Awareness Centre, A Helpline and a Hotline.