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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Cumbria police urge online safety after parents chat site fears

CUMBRIA police have urged parents to pay attention to what their children are up to online.

The online safety drive has been issued as police have received reports of ‘Omegle’.

Omegle is a free online chat website that allows users to communicate with strangers without registering.

Detective Sergeant Jim Rooney said: “It is important that parents take a keen interest in what their children are viewing and accessing online. We work with local schools to directly warn children of the dangers that they are placing themselves in accessing certain websites.

“Some of the key issues we address cover things like the importance of privacy settings, and how once something is uploaded, or sent via the internet, you have lost control of it forever.

“However, it is vital parents that must be aware of who their child is communicating with online.

“It is just as important to protect your child in the ‘online’ world as it is in the ‘real’ world. Most parents wouldn’t let their child physically spend the night talking to a complete stranger, but that is exactly what is happening online.”

Police officers across the county regularly visit schools to teach children and young people about online safety.

Click here for a short film of PC Keith Hunton giving a talk on online safety to pupils at Whitehaven School: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfmSPb3yyXU&feature=youtu.be

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 developments that your child may be using

- 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 WiFi, your security settings may not be applied.

For more information about staying safe online please visit www.cumbria.police.uk/onlinesafety.

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