Parents and guardians are being warned by the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Safeguards Commission on the importance of educating children about online safety before gifting them new devices and tech gadgets for Christmas.
olice reveals that reports of online child sexual abuse crimes have surged by more than 80% in the past three years. Many of them are approached by sexual predators across online and gaming platforms.
These crimes included sexual assault and sexual communication with children, and elements of the crime were committed online.
The Police Service, working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Board of Conservation and Education Authorities, is raising awareness about online grooming and educating parents and guardians across NI on how to keep their children and young people safe online this Christmas. A message has been issued to the caregiver.
Chief Detective Kelly Brennan said:
“For some children, this is their first time owning a device that connects them to the online world. Be aware of new risks.
“Together with our partners at the Northern Ireland Safeguards Commission, we have put together some important tips for keeping your children safe online.
“These tips include: Reviewing privacy, location and parental controls on devices used by children; reviewing direct messaging and chat features in apps; using parental controls; Have open conversations with your child about what they are doing online.”
Bernie McNally, Independent Chair of the Northern Ireland Conservation Commission, said it was the season for many local families to buy and give away new devices and technology, and it was not until children discovered all the benefits of new online spaces. He said it could be an exciting time.
“While many of the interactions are positive, there is also the risk that children will encounter inappropriate and harmful content, which can be a gateway for those who seek to harm and exploit,” McNally added. rice field.
“Children often meet people who are not who they say they are through social and gaming sites. It is important to encourage them to talk to you if they have ever felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
“Keeping children safe online is a collective effort, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that children and young people understand the risks and where they can go for support if they need it.”
The possibilities that the online world offers young people are truly amazing in terms of knowledge, education, staying in touch with friends and learning about the world, said Michael, service director for child protection and support services at the Department of Education. Kelly says.
“We very much welcome this initiative by the Northern Ireland Police Service and the Safeguarding Commission and are pleased to facilitate the sharing of this message. It is for the Safeguarding Commission and all partner agencies that young people are safe and informed. We appreciate that helping you participate in the online world with confidence that is based on our priority.”
“Cops are working closely with local schools, the Ministry of Education, and education authorities to highlight the potential dangers online and ensure that children are well-groomed or at risk online. Parents who are concerned that they may be being abused are urged to call the police at 101 or 999. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
Practical tips and advice are published on the Police Service website.online