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Keeping children safe online over the festive period

Education: Secondary / Thu 7th Dec 2023 at 07:39am

ONLINE safety is as important as ever in the lead up to the festive season with technology and gadgets high on the wish list for many young people this Christmas. The Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) is reminding parents and carers that if their child does receive a new device or games consoles for Christmas, it’s important to set them up correctly to keep children safe when online – the parental controls installed on previous devices may need checking and setting up again.

From 10 to 17 December 2023, the ESCB will be sharing information about some of the risks young people may encounter online, in the gaming world and on social media. There will also be information about how to talk to children about content seen online to help them to become critical online thinkers.

The campaign week will start with an online session for parents and carers from The 2 Johns E-Safety Training who will be running a Zoom session (also streamed on their Facebook page) at 7pm on Sunday 10 December.

The campaign highlights resources from several partners who share tips on how to support young people to have healthy relationships in a digital world, how to talk openly about things they do and see online and to begin to build digital literacy skills.

It is important to remember exploitation is not the child’s fault and they are never to blame. By creating a supportive environment, where online safety is discussed in the same way as road safety or stranger danger, children will feel more able to speak openly about concerns they may have.

The resources created by the ESCB will help provide parents, carers and professionals with the information they need to support children to safely navigate the online world, whether they are primary or secondary age.

David Archibald, ESCB Independent Chair/Facilitator on behalf of the Statutory Partners, said: “I would encourage all parents and carers, no matter how tech savvy they think they are, to double check that their children’s devices have the correct parental controls and to have a discussion with their children about the importance of safe internet use – take an interest in what games they are playing and try to understand their online world.

“Online exploitation is a horrific crime and can have a significant impact on the lives of the individuals, families and communities involved. Together we can support children and parents to be aware of the dangers and know there is someone to talk to if they’re concerned.”

To keep up to date with the latest information about the campaign search and like Essex Safeguarding Children Board on Facebook.

Concerns about child exploitation can be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555111. There is also a dedicated Police Child Exploitation hotline – for parents, carers and members of the public to seek advice around concerns they may have about their own or other children with regards to criminal and sexual exploitation: 01245 452058.

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