Pupils at a South Tyneside primary school have been learning top tips on how to stay safe in cyber space in a bid to protect them from online groomers.
Northumbria Police and Police Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird have joined forces with Get Safe Online to raise awareness of the importance of children staying safe when surfing the internet.
The PCC visited Harton Primary School in East Avenue, with Acting Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Winton Keenan and Chief Executive of Get Online Tony Neate to help pupils find out more about what they can do stay safe on line as well as raise awareness of the risks of talking to strangers on social media networks.
The move comes ahead of Christmas when youngsters could receive mobile phones, ipads, computers and other gadgets that gives them online access.
The drive is also calling on parents to speak to their children about risks associated with the internet and of online abuse.
Recent figures by police reveal almost four in five 12-15 year olds and one in three, eight to 11 year-olds own a mobile phone.
It’s really important parents without being too intrusive with their children, for them to understand what is going on with that device and what their child is using it for.Acting Chief Superintendent Winton Keenan
Dame Vera Baird said; “We want children to be safe online and that’s what this is about.
“All of these young people are learning how to use their ipads at school, they’ve got devices at home, and a lot more young children will get devices over Christmas.
“So we are saying to parents, the first thing you should do when you give the device to their children, is to make sure they know how to stay safe.
“We don’t want to scare people, but we want to give young people the message and the resilience to stay safe from an early age.”
During the visit young people were shown a presentation on how to stay safe and how to create strong passwords.
Mr Keenan said: “This campaign is aimed at children to stay safe online. This is really an appropriate time to get this message out there, as we know a lot of devices be it phones, computers, tablets all those sorts of things are going to be given as Christmas presents.
“A number of measures can be put in place through the use of passwords to restrict what the young person is able to access and what we are doing is trying to encourage parents and carers to understand more, so that they can keep their children safe.”
Mr Neate said: “Children are very unique when it comes to technology and we regularly feel that the children out do us, but we have to remember that we know about risks and about threats. So this initiative with Northumbria Police and the PCC is fantastic.”
Headteacher Karen Ratcliffe said: “We are very IT rich at the school and it’s important the children use the technology safely.
“We cover online safety as part of the keep safe programme and take part in the South Tyneside online safety weeks - this is an additional tool for the children to learn more about staying safe online.”
For more information visit www.getsafeonline.org