Police warn Warwickshire students to be careful online as part of Safe Internet Day

Editorial image
Editorial image

Officers will be championing the importance of staying safe in the virtual world this week when talking to children at schools across Warwickshire and the West Mercia force area to mark Safer Internet Day, which takes place tomorrow (Tuesday, February 9).

In addition, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police will be highlighting the dangers of ‘sexting’ to teenagers through a social media campaign, which also urges them to pause before they post something online which they may later regret.

In 2015 a total of 74 children, whose ages ranged from 10 to 17, were investigated by West Mercia Police for ‘sexting’ activities - that is sending or sharing explicit or naked pictures of themselves on social media or text messaging services to others.

DCI Sean Paley, from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police specialist operations unit, said: “Sexting may be considered harmless fun by some young people but this could not be further from the truth. Once an image has been sent the sender has no control of where it ends up and who sees it. There can be huge ramifications, leaving people vulnerable to blackmail, bullying and harm, as well as the fact that children who are sexting may actually be committing criminal offences.

“Safer Internet Day is an excellent time to highlight the importance of staying safe online generally and for people to improve their knowledge and understanding of how to protect themselves in cyber space.

“Parents and carers can also play an important role in ensuring children are protected. They should be aware of what children are doing on the internet, the sites they are visiting, who they are talking to and ensuring they know there is an adult to talk to if they are concerned.

“There are some great, trusted online resources which offer advice about staying safe online, such as www.thinkuknow.co.uk, www.getsafeonline.org and www.ceop.police.uk

Police have released this quick way of learning some key pieces of information about ‘sexting’ and social media use.

Sexting

S ‘Sexting’ may seem like harmless fun but it’s not.

M Make sure you don’t send something to another person that you’ll later regret.

A As soon as you send or post a picture you lose control of where it ends up.

R Remember; once a picture is on the internet it can be copied by anybody.

T Talk to a parent, carer or teacher if you are concerned.

Social media use

S Something which seems funny now may not be in the future and may be hurtful to others.

M Make sure you check your privacy settings on social media.

A Are you really happy for the whole world to see that post or picture?

R Remember; once a picture is on the internet it can be copied by anybody.

T Talk to a parent, carer or teacher if you are concerned.

For more cyber advice from Warwickshire Police go to www.warwickshire.police.uk/becybersmart
For more information on Safer Internet Day go to www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2016