The festive season can bring a whole new series of electronic, internet-enabled devices into our homes and into the hands of children and young people. Suffolk Police are urging the public to take on board e-safety tips and advice as to how to use and enjoy them safely.
All devices, including smart phones, tablets, laptops, PCs etc. that are internet enabled can present risks to the user including cyberbullying, online fraud, identity theft, grooming and sexting. Remember, even basic phones that are not ‘smart’ and are not internet-enabled can still be used to send and receive pictures.
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.
Det. Supt. Eamonn Bridger 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. 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. I would urge everyone to take a look.”
Visit www.internetmatters.org – learn about online safety with parent and child e-safety app which can be downloaded for free.
Children and young people online
How can you keep your child safe online? https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/together-ee-helping-keep-kids-safe-online-christmas/
Check the basic safety settings are set up and active e.g. location settings and the app store permissions
Review their apps – make sure they are age appropriate and privacy settings are on
Turn on Google ‘Safe Search’ and ‘Restricted Mode’ on YouTube to help screen out inappropriate content
Check they’re connected safely – set parental controls on your broadband and apply a content lock on their mobile network
Ensure your children know the rules:
Always keep your phone safe and secured with a PIN
Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognise
Don’t give your number to strangers
Never share personal information online
Never send pictures to people you don’t know
Stay engaged – have regular conversations with your children about what they do.
Play Like Share – ThinkuKnow resource for eight-to-ten year olds
This three-episode animated series and accompanying resource pack aims to help eight-to-ten year olds learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse, exploitation and other risks they might encounter online such as sharing content.
Download Play Like Share films and resource pack here
You can find further advice on the Internet Matters webpage here.
- Think You Know – CEOP
- UK Safer Internet Centre
- Internet Matters
- Parents Pack – What’s the Problem
Here are some basic precautions.
Passwords: Make your passwords unique and do not use them for different accounts to limit any security breaches. If you must write them down keep them locked in a safe or other secure location away from your computer. A strong password is at least 12 characters long and ideally will include both upper and lower case letters, a least 1 number and also another character such as a question mark or exclamation mark. Use something memorable for you such as a film title or song lyric for example “Star Wars 2: The Empire Strike Back” which incorporates upper case, lower case, a number and another character. If possible use other security methods such as Security keys, second tier security questions, Biometrics or One-time codes some or all of which are available on many accounts.
Be Wary: Even if you know the source of an E-mail, tweet, online post or advertisement it could be infected. If something looks suspicious, delete it. Links in an email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information.
Plug-Ins: Memory cards, USB’s, Flash Drives and any other external devices that you connect to could be infected. Always use your security software to scan them before you use them.
Keep your security software up-to-date: There are a number of commercial security protection packages available but it is important to ensure they are kept current as new computer viruses; malware and other online threats are constantly developed and released. Keeping your web browser, operating system and security software up-to-date is the best defence against them. Many of these can be set to update automatically.
Protect ALL your online devices: Computers are not the only devices that can be infected and you should consider protection for smartphones, gaming systems and any other device or smart appliance that is Web enabled.
Prepare: Back-up and keep secure copies of any work or other information such as photos, invoices etc. so that should you be unfortunate enough to be infected you can wipe your system and restore.