Wetherby PCSOs Mick Driscoll and Jenn Corners bring their second column exclusive to the News.
The pair speak to various groups in the area giving advice on how to avoid internet predators and promote safety among children.
LAST month we talked about how technology has changed our lives and some of the things our children need to be made aware of while using the Internet.
This month we want to talk about practical things you can do to educate both your children and yourselves as parents/carers.
When buying a computer, ask the sales assistant which internet safety devices are available to help manage your child’s internet access.
Install software that can filter inappropriate material and allows you to monitor what your children are doing online.
When your children are young, place the computer where you can always see the screen.
By doing this, you will help them to develop a pattern of safe use of the internet which may safeguard them when they get older and want more privacy online.
This we will repeat over and over as it is so important.
Never give out personal information such as, their name, address, phone number, where they live, which school they go to, or details of family and friends.
Never go and meet an online, ‘friend’, offline without an adult you trust.
It’s not good enough to take a mate along as you are putting both of you at risk.
Here is an actual quote: “She was great. I felt I could talk with her about anything. It felt like she was my best friend. When I met her, ‘she’ turned out to be ‘he’ and was much older than me. He frightened and hurt me.”
That was a 13-year-old boy who met his chat room friend offline.
Educate your children to use the internet wisely and to become critical users, encourage them to question whether the information they are receiving from people is true.
Let them know that they can tell you if they become uncomfortable with anything that happens on the internet and acknowledge that it may be difficult to do this.
They may have said things they are embarrassed about and wouldn’t want you to know.
Help them learn that we all make mistakes when growing up and that you can help.
Useful websites to explore and save to you favourites are - www.thinkuknow.co.uk and www.ceop.gov.uk