Swindon police advice after two girls fall foul of internet
A WARNING about safeguarding children from the dangers of social media has been issued by police after the alarm was raised by parents in north Swindon.
In the past two weeks officers have been alerted to two cases where young girls have been caught out online.
The first alarm was raised when a young girl, who has not been identified, was found making plans to travel abroad to meet someone she had spoken to on the ‘Quotev’ website who she believed was a 16-year-old boy.
In the second case, a teenage girl sent inappropriate photographs to her boyfriend in private but he then posted them on the Facebook website.
Parents have also been voicing concerns to police about the ‘Snog’ web page, which encourages users to say whether they would snog, marry or avoid one another.
People can interact and send private messages on the website, with the option of being matched to someone who has a similar criteria.
Online safety, privacy and bullying are issues discussed in all schools, but police said the people who can have the biggest influence in protecting youngsters are the parents, carers and relatives.
Inspector Charlie Ducker, North Swindon Sector head, said: “Just as responsible parents would not let their child out late at night without proper safeguards and supervision, they must also learn to apply the same safety principles when allowing their children to 'roam free' on the internet.
“It is vital we safeguard our young people by discussing the risks with them and putting appropriate safeguards in place when using social networking sites.
“Our schools, local police and other agencies can offer advice and support on how to stay safe when using the internet.
“If you think that you are about to do something online that would not be ok with your parents, then don't do it.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Most children have access to a computer or device that can be used to go online, so it is crucial that they are aware of the dangers which exist.
“You should never give out any personal details, photographs or any information which could be used to identify yourself or where you might live.
“You should never agree to meet someone from the internet without telling your parents and taking a responsible adult with you. The first meeting should always be in a public place.
“If you are contacted by someone online who posts something offensive or asking personal questions, you should report this person using the appropriate reporting system on the specific website and tell a parent.
“Stop talking to the person immediately.”
To report someone for acting inappropriately online, contact police on 101 or report them through the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre at http://ceop.police.uk/.