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Online safety campaign

Last updated by Stephanie.Rosser@essex.gov.uk on Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Online safety campaign - how to spot the signs of exploitation, check device security settings and report concerns

 

With the summer holidays fast approaching, it’s important to remember that the risk of online harm and child exploitation doesn’t disappear. Any child is at risk - both boys and girls can be groomed online, with contact often starting on social media.

 

Children may turn to devices more over the summer, which could increase the risk of online harm such as grooming and accessing inappropriate gaming and chat forums. The addictive effects of technology could also impact their mental health.

 

From Monday 15 to Sunday 21 July 2024, we are encouraging people across Essex to take part in sharing messages about online safety across social media.

 

The week of activity will cover topics including youth involved sexual images, online gaming, and online safety for pre-schoolers. There will be information on how to support young people to have healthy relationships in a digital world and the importance of supporting them to understand the dangers that technology can present with relationships.

 

It is important to remember that exploitation is not the child’s fault, and they are never to blame.

 

Caregivers can create a supportive environment, where online safety is discussed regularly in the same way as road safety or stranger danger, enabling children to speak up about any concerns they may have. By taking an interest in what games they are playing and trying to understand their online world, parents and carers can initiate important conversations. It’s also worthwhile double checking that devices have the correct parental controls, especially if they’re new.

 

The campaign webpages have resources for parents, carers and professionals including podcasts, videos, how to report concerns, and information about spotting the signs of exploitation.

 

Concerns about child exploitation can be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555111. There is also a dedicated Essex Police Child Exploitation hotline - for parents, carers and members of the public to seek advice around concerns they may have about their own or other children with regards to criminal and sexual exploitation: 01245 452058.