Using the internet, either at school or home, has become part of
everyday life for children and young people in today’s world.
Your children will, if they haven’t already, get access to the
internet. While the web can provide endless amounts of fun,
entertainment and useful information, it’s also a gateway to
explicit material and communication with strangers.
Sadly, bullying isn’t just confined to the school
playground. Cyberbullying, using the internet or a mobile phone to
send or post cruel text or images, also exists.
our children go out to play we want to know where they are going.
We take a very close interest. Using the internet safely requires
Child Exploitation and Online Protection
Just like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying is a way of
intentionally hurting the victim. However because it doesn’t take
place in person it’s not restricted to a particular time or place
and can happen by e-mail or on messenger, forum or social
Don’t take the bait
If you receive unwanted messages, whether they
are abusive, offensive or distressing, it is important that you
don’t take the bait and engage the sender in conversation. Most
likely they are looking for a response, so ignoring it in the first
instance is a good line of defence.
Block unwanted contacts
If the problem persists, there are some simple steps
you can take to block the user. Importantly, the user will not be
notified that you have blocked them.
In the case of Facebook, it site will withdraw
their ability to send you messages. Twitter has an option for you
to block users by simply clicking on a ‘block’ button on the
settings of the user’s profile.
Report it to sort it
If messages develop beyond an annoyance and
you feel further action is required, you have the ability to report
the problem directly to the social media site. This is again an
anonymous action and the user will not be notified that they have
been reported. The social networking site will then investigate the
user, who may be banned or a limited service.
Tell the police
If the messages you receive contain content designed
to harass, alarm or distress you, it is likely the person has
committed an offence under the Misuse of Communications Act. If
this is the case, then Essex Police needs to be informed, even if
you have blocked and reported the user to the social networking
site. It is also useful for the police if you are able to keep a
record of the abuse and the details of the account in question.
Did you know?
You can perform a security check on your
social media profile. Click here to review your security
The internet remains a great tool to help
children explore and make friends but its anonymity makes it almost
impossible to know exactly who your child is talking to.
While the majority of new acquaintances will be trustworthy it’s
a sad fact that the web provides paedophiles with the opportunity
to interact with your child.
Grooming is the term
used to describe inappropriate behaviour online that puts a child
at risk. It’s when actions are taken to befriend a child and form a
trusting relationship, often with the intent to commit a sexual
offence against that child. Some abusers will pose as children
online and make arrangements to meet them.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection
Centre (CEOP) is
part of UK police and works to make the internet a safer place for
children by tracking and bringing offenders to account.
CEOP also works with children to highlight the dangers of the
internet through their educational campaign Thinkuknow.
We understand this information is both shocking and worrying for
parents. It’s not our intention to scare but to emphasise the
importance of talking to your children and keeping a close eye on
their use of the internet.
learning to cross the road, online safety skills are skills for
Child Exploitation and Online Protection
We've put together a list of tips to help you and your
children remain safe surfers:
- Monitor the sites your children are visiting by glancing over
their shoulder and checking the history folder once they have
- Set up the family computer in a public area of the house such
as the living room rather than a bedroom.
- Remember anybody can be anybody on the internet. Don’t take
everything someone tells you or your child as the truth.
- Make sure your children understand they should never arrange to
meet with someone they meet through the internet.
- Think about buying special software that restricts access to
adult websites and any other web pages you would rather your child
did not see. You can purchase this software at most PC
- Explain the danger of giving out personal details to your
children. Make sure they understand never to give out their
address, phone number of school name to anyone they talk to
- Learn the language of chat rooms so you can understand what
your child has been talking about online and show as much interest
in their chat room friends as their real life friends.
- Go online with your children as often as you can.
This is by no means a complete list but highlights the main
precautions you should take.
For more help
For more advice try visiting these websites:
Know - offers parents, teachers and young people latest
information on popular sites, what's good, what's not and what you
can do about it.
Safe Onine - gives computer users advice to help
them use the internet confidently, safely and securely.
Danger – how to keep safe chatting online.
Now! - aims to prevent child sexual abuse by raising
awareness and encouraging early recognition of
the problem by abusers themselves and those close to
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