During the lockdown period police have received numerous reports of children in Cumbria as young as nine receiving indecent images on their mobile phones.
A lot of children are spending increased amounts of time online during lockdown which can make them even more vulnerable to receiving inappropriate messages and images.
A Cumbria Police spokesman said: “We would like to take this opportunity to remind parents of the importance of making sure your child is safe online, especially when using social media apps and online gaming. Technology changes all the time as does the popularity of apps and websites, so keeping on top of what your child is doing when they are using mobile phones and other devices is important.”
Top tips for parents include:
- Stay up-to-date. Ask about your child’s new gadgets, apps and websites – it is important to be aware of new technologies and apps that your child may be using.
- Monitor activity: Have access to your children’s social media account passwords if they are old enough to have their own accounts and check these accounts regularly.
- Set boundaries. Treat the online world as you would the ‘real’ world – consider what or who they may see, share and communicate with, as well as how long they spend online.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Today many technologies connect to the internet – including TVs and games consoles. Check how they are accessing the internet – if it is through a neighbour’s Wi-Fi, your security settings may not be applied.
- Talk to children about online safety and the importance of not speaking to anyone that they don’t know and telling you if it does happen.
The NSPCC website has useful information on how to apply parental controls, how to talk to your children about online safety and updates on popular apps and websites that your child may be using:
If you are worried about content that your child has received online, you can report this to us by calling 101 or by emailing: [email protected]