Dyfed-Powys Police is urging parents and carers to talk to children and young people about staying safe online.
Police are urging adults to have conversations about the dangers of ‘oversharing’ – sharing too much information about, or photographs or videos of themselves – and what they can do if someone asks for or sends explicit content.
Detective Inspector Phil Kite explained:
“Teenagers share private photos and videos without understanding that they might be used against them, or shared with others.
“Sadly, we have seen cases where children and young people are hurt because they didn’t know where to turn for help.
“We are here to help and we will treat all victims with humility, sensitivity and confidentiality.”
Lessons about online safety are delivered by our team of Schools Police Officers across the Dyfed-Powys area, as part of the Wales Police Schools Programme. The force’s aim is to make sure young people have a Trust Team of adults to discuss their concerns with.
DI Kite continued:
“Criminals target and befriend their victims, and once they have private or explicit images or video, they attempt to blackmail the victims into sending money or more photos. This is known as ‘sextortion’.
“These criminals rely on people feeling isolated. We are asking parents, carers, guardians and all trusted adults to have a conversation with teenagers so they can turn to you if they are worried about anything they see or do online.
“We don’t want anyone to feel they are the only person this has happened to – that is far from the truth and we are here to help.
“It might be difficult, but please try to find a way to talk to them about the dangers of social media.
“Please urge them to stop and think if they receive a friend request from someone they don’t know – it might not be the person they say they are.”
The advice for parents is:
Take an interest in the games and apps your child is using
Discuss what to do if a child views upsetting viral content.
Talk about personal information and the importance of keeping this information private.
For help and support, visit SchoolBeat.cymru
The advice for teenagers, if they become a victim of sextortion or are sent explicit photographs or content, is:
Take screenshots of conversations.
Tell a trusted adult.
Report it to the social media platform.
Report it to police so they can investigate and stop other people becoming victims.
For more guidance for parents about helping children and teenagers stay safe online, visit: https://www.getsafeonline.org/safeguarding-children/13-or-over/
Or visit the NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-abuse/