This month ...
Encouraging children to keep their personal
information private is one of the biggest
challenges we face. Indeed so many sites and
services online look as though they encouraging
young people to share more and more information.
Of course, the internet is a great place to be
for all young people, letting them explore and
learn about the world however, like in the
offline world, children and young people can
push at the boundaries with regards to what they
can say and do online. But there are risks,
particularly in giving out too much information.
So what is personal information?
Well, this can be their full name, their
address, their mobile number, what school they
go to, their email address, photos of themselves
and any hobbies they are involved in. Of course,
friends in the real world are likely to know all
this information - so why put it all online?
It seems that stories regularly appear where
children have been chatting online to someone
who they later find out is an adult. The
application of grooming techniques by offenders
is made far easier in online environments as
offenders are able to build a range of contacts
and express shared interests and opinions with
children, who are increasingly used to having
the world as their audience in online forums.
When there is a wealth of personal information
available, this can be used to groom a child or
even locate them in the real world.
What can you do?
Children and young people need to understand the
risks they may face by disclosing lots of
personal information in these online
environments. Below are some key points for you
to talk through with your children:
It's a good idea to make sure the people on
your children's contact lists are known to
them in the 'real world'. That way they can
be sure of who they are talking to.
Keep personal information personal and
offline where possible - friends in the real
world will already have this information.
Webcam images and clips are classed as
personal information and they can be
recorded and copied, as well as shared with
other people. If your children are using
webcams, it's a good idea for them to only
use it with people they know in the real
Photos that are posted in online forums such
as social networking sites can also be
copied and used by strangers elsewhere.
Offenders can pose as a child and use photos
they have found to hide behind. If a photo
is not suitable to be handed around the
dinner table, it should not be posted
Encourage your children to visit
www.thinkuknow.co.uk - this
is their site and show them how they can
report to specialist police officers at the
CEOP Centre if they experience inappropriate
behaviour online, using the 'Report Abuse'
Go on - take the test
Are you a switched on mum or a digital dad?
Take our online poll and find out more ...
Get involved in Safer Internet Day - 10 February
Are you are aware of this date? Well across the
EU, countries are using this day as a focus to
send out 'be safe online' messages and here in
the UK we are doing our bit. The CEOP Centre is
encouraging every school - primary and secondary
- to hold specially designed assemblies using
the free Thinkuknow resources available. Is your
child's school following the many thousands who
have already registered? Ask and find out and
let's get as many schools as possible using this
key date in the calendar as a day to empower all
children and young people to be safer online.
Talk the talk - break the language barrier!
Each month we are going to test your knowledge
and ask you to decipher an acronym used commonly
by children and young people online - you know
the kind of shorthand that is now widely used
across social networking and instant messenger
sites. Like for instance BRB, which to any
informed chatter or social networker means 'be
This month we present to you
... what does it mean?
www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents to find
out if you have guessed correct.
So there we have it. Our latest instalment in
working with you to keep young people safe
online. Now we ask that you do your bit. Visit:
read up on the many subjects we cover and
encourage your friends and family with children
to do the same and register for these e-mails.