“There are offline consequences to online behaviour” - police warn of internet dangers for children and young people

Picture: Archant library.

Picture: Archant library. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Police are urging the public to take on board internet safety advice and stay safe online.

Suffolk Constabulary is reminding children and young people to exercise caution when using the new electronic devices they may have received over the festive period.

Det. Supt. Eamonn Bridger believes parents must play a role to ensure their children stay safe.

He said: ''With so much of our daily routine now online parents and carers need to understand the way young people communicate with others and the potential risks.

'This can be a challenging job. They need to know what their children are doing online and also help them to do it in a safe way.

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He added: 'With technology changing so rapidly, the best way to stay informed is for parents to be involved by talking to their children to help them to understand the ways in which their children are using the internet, social media and their mobile phone.

'There is a great deal of information, guidance and advice available to help families navigate their way through the pitfalls of handheld, internet-enabled devices so they can ensure children use them safely, responsibly and enjoyably.'

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'I would urge everyone to take a look.'

Police say all internet enabled devices, including smart phone, tablets, laptops and PCs that are internet enabled can present risks to the user.

These risks include; cyberbullying online fraud, identity theft, grooming and sexting.

However, even basic phones that are not 'smart' and are not internet-enabled can still be used to send and receive pictures.

A police spokesman said: 'Young people routinely access social media and much of their social lives are online. This can create a false sense of security; for example chatting online feels different from chatting face to face.

'It can be easier to say and reveal things that wouldn't be said face to face such as being cruel or aggressive.

'It is important for young people to remember that there are offline consequences to online behaviour.'

For more information on online safety and to download the free parent and e-safety app visit: www.internetmatters.org

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