Police reveal risks of children’s increased internet use

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With children often receiving new electronic devices at Christmas, Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Policing Division hosted an online event to raise awareness of the risks that come with increasing online use by young people.

More than 40 parents, carers, guardians and professionals tuned into the virtual event earlier this month.

Youth engagement officer PC Jules Wreford delivered a presentation that highlighted the opportunities available through the internet and passed on some useful facts.

The key messages shared throughout the event were:

  • Be informed – keep up-to-date with online trends and challenges that children and young people face online
  • Have open conversations – talk regularly to children about what they enjoy doing online
  • Discuss risks – encourage children to discuss concerns they have about their online activity
  • Explore together – find opportunities to learn and engage in online apps and activities together
  • Monitor activity – avoid leaving young children to play online alone without supervision

‘I’m delighted that so many people took an interest in this event,’ said area commander Chief Inspector Coleen Wylie, who opened the virtual event.

‘Since the start of lockdown in 2020, we have sadly seen an increase in reports of younger people receiving indecent images and communications through mobile devices.

‘We want to help parents and carers have increased knowledge of some of the simple steps that can be taken, including use of parental controls and having conversations with their children, to help protect young people and enable them to enjoy all the benefits of the digital world safely.’

If you believe your child has been the victim of online sexual exploitation, contact Police Scotland on 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergencies.

Alternatively, you can make an online report at www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/