Online safety is the key message for kids

Online safety should not be underestimated say police
Online safety should not be underestimated say police

With the advent of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, parents and carers said keeping children safe online was one of the hardest tasks.

In an age of technology, where children have daily access to the World Wide Web, safety is paramount and cannot be underestimated.

To mark Safer Internet Day (SID), advice was issued to help young people avoid online problems.

West Lothian Council and Police Scotland are committed to working in partnership to promote internet safety among young people in West Lothian.

There is an ongoing educational programme which seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of inappropriate internet communication among young people in schools, with secondary schools in West Lothian publishing information on their websites on how young people can protect themselves online.

Based on ThinkUKnow, there is also a programme of activity within West Lothian primary and additional support needs (ASN) schools to engage with young people at all ages about the importance of staying safe online.

Council Leader John McGinty said: “National Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to remind our young people to think about their safety when using the internet.

“Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are enjoyed by many but there are also pitfalls that young people should take care to avoid.

“Practical advice on privacy settings and how to deal with unwanted messages have been issued through our secondary school websites and we would encourage parents and carers to make sure they are involved in their child’s life online, as well as in the real world.”

Sergeant John Jackson, of the West Lothian Community Safety Unit, added: “We have been working with secondary schools and campus police officers to help get the message out to young people about staying safe online.

“For example, the sharing of inappropriate images on social media can lead to a number of issues around bullying, harassment, images becoming public and the legal implications of taking, sharing, receiving or posting inappropriate images of anyone under the age of 18.

“We hope that making young people more aware of the issues will prevent them getting involved in situations that they may regret.”

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