From a very young age, right up to young adulthood, it is important to have conversations with your child about what they are doing online; how they’re using the internet, which sites they’re enjoying and as they get older, what connections they’re making online.
Parental controls on your home internet and safety tools, such as privacy settings, can play their part in reducing risks, but must be seen as only part of the solution.
This page aims to signpost you to partner sites that provide up to date information to find help when needed, useful resources and up to date films to watch with your child, advice on current trends and help with technology generally.
Where to go for information
Gloucestershire Constabulary works closely with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which is a part of the National Crime Agency.
Specially-trained teachers, police staff and other professionals have used their resources in schools throughout the county for a number of years. Their website Thinkuknow offers advice and resources for young people, their parents and carers, teachers and trainers as well as a reporting tool.
Whilst collated nationally, many reports made locally will be referred back to Gloucestershire Constabulary for investigation.
The UK Safer Internet Centre is coordinated by Childnet International, the Internet Watch Foundation and the Southwest Grid for Learning.
It provides an awareness centre, a helpline for professionals working with children and a hotline where you can report online content that you are concerned may be of a criminal nature, for example indecent images of children.
There are useful guides for young people, their parents and carers, teachers and professionals and foster carers, adoptive parents and social workers.
'The Naked Truth'
Whilst the law is quite clear about the consequences of taking, possessing or distributing indecent images of children, it can be a confusing landscape for young people whilst growing up.
This may be a difficult conversation to have with a young person but they will need help, support and advice if they have posted naked or explicit photos of themselves online, sent them willingly to a boyfriend or girlfriend and especially if they have been coerced into this.
There are plenty of resources for you to use or signpost to your child on all the sites mentioned above or click onto these links:
A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with ‘Sexting’
The steps below are here to help you work through how to deal with an incident that has led to distress and how to take control.
Step 1 – Offer reassurance and try not to panic
Step 2 – Ask them who they have shared it with
Step 3 – Inform the provider or web site and report
Step 4 – Get in contact with the Police by dialling 101. This is especially important if you think that your child may have been coerced into sharing the image. If you do report the Police the following steps are likely to be taken.
- An incident report is created
- Based on the information received initially, a local officer will be allocated to get in touch and officers may attend your home address. At this point, the officer will ask to view your child’s phone. In some circumstances, CID officers may become involved
- The police will then take appropriate action which, in most circumstances, will be to give advice to all parties and ensure the images are deleted
- Where appropriate. police can deliver educational inputs to school community if appropriate
Step 5 – Inform the school or college and let them know what’s happened. They will be able to help you to control the circulation and support your child
For more information on these steps, please visit saferinternet.org
Gloucestershire Constabulary's Safer Cyber Twitter feed