Keeping young people safe online

Published: Friday, 02 February 2018

This Safer Internet Day, children and young people can learn how to stay safe online during an awareness event at The Deco Theatre.

On Tuesday, 6 February, Northampton Borough Council will be welcoming more than 500 students and teachers, from eleven schools across the county, to the event.

From 1pm, the students will have the opportunity to find out more about online exploitation, grooming, and support organisations that they can turn to, should they need help or advice.

Sixth formers from Rushden Academy will kick the afternoon off with a theatre style performance called ‘Add me’. This performance explores the dangers of online exploitation by following the story of 11-year-old Sophie as she begins to explore the world of social media.

Following this, Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council will run a workshop on how to stay safe on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook and offer ways to spot social media threats including online grooming and cyber bullying. In addition, it will offer advice on how to manage the growing emotional challenges that social media presents children including self-esteem and body image issues.

Cllr Anna King, Cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “It is essential that we protect our children and young people by promoting the safe use of digital technologies.

 “To do this, we are pleased to be working with partners to deliver an important awareness event that will help to tackle some difficult subjects as well as highlighting the reporting mechanisms we have in place.”

Cllr Sylvia Hughes, Northamptonshire County Council Cabinet member for Public Health and Wellbeing said: “While social media may help younger children be creative and learn things about the world, those reaching their teens and moving to secondary school face “a cliff edge” as social media becomes more complex, with the focus on social interactions and image.

“This event will not only give students appropriate information on how to stay safe online, it will highlight ways to discuss potential emotional issues children face when using the internet.

Detective Sergeant Nickie Deeks from Northamptonshire Police will be at the event. She said:
“The internet is a wonderful resource and most children love using technology to navigate websites, play online games and access social media. Unfortunately this doesn’t come without risks and sadly there are people who chose to exploit children online - this can happen to any young or vulnerable person from any social background.

“We have to teach children how to protect themselves and importantly, what to do if they come across anything online which makes them feel uncomfortable or concerned.

“This event aims to do just that and I’m very happy to support it.”

Any schools that are interested in attending this event can contact [email protected]

For more information about how to stay safe online, please visit our student safety pages