…and spare a thought for the teachers
PREDATORY adults are not the only dangers faced by young people on the web.
The police posters also emphasise the dangers of sending information and photographs over the Internet and warn carers that they never know who is watching over a web cam.
One incident involved a teenage boy who sent an image of himself in the nude to a girl he had met over the Internet.
Embarrassingly, he then realised the girl was at the same school as his girlfriend.
“He had sent a picture of himself naked to somebody he had never met,” said PC Carter.
“You don’t know what they’re going to do with it.”
Video clips of fights have also been an issue, as has illegal content and cyber bullying.
And it’s not only young people who are involved.
“Teachers are suffering,” said PC Carter. “You’ve got these sites where they can be ‘rated’ – they’re being bullied through comments being put on there. “It is a huge problem.” He compared the issue to educating parents and teachers about drugs.
“Parents can make a difference. They need to take an interest and be there to help and protect their children. Filtering and blocking software should be put in place and parents should think about where the computer is placed.
“Too many children have an unprotected computer and web cam, often to be found in their bedroom where they are unsupervised.
“Although we are concerned about young people being victims of web offences, unfortunately cyber bullying is a growing trend and young people need to know that sending threatening or abusive texts or emails is a crime and that they can be held to account.
“Many young people think that they can’t be traced when sending this type of message but they are not anonymous.”