Merseyside Police is raising awareness about how to stay safe online on Safer Internet Day 2021 today (Tuesday, 9 February).
As part of the Safer Internet Centre’s national day, Merseyside Police is working to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.
Detective Sergeant John Black from Merseyside Police Cyber Unit said: "We are joining this national day of awareness to warn children, young people and adults of the dangers of being manipulated online by strangers. Also to alert parents, teachers and guardians to the warning signs that children may be at risk.
“There are plenty of practical things we can all be doing online, not only to stop our kids being exposed to potentially harmful and inappropriate material online, but also stop becoming a victim of online fraud ourselves. Why not join in our Q&A via instagram today, for hints,tips and to ask any questions.
"We want to raise awareness of the importance of setting parental controls on computers, games consoles and electronic devices to keep your children safe, so they are not exposed to potentially harmful and inappropriate material online. I would also strongly advise parents to be satisfied that they know who their children are engaging with, be that via social media or through gaming on Xboxes and PlayStations.
Officers from the force’s Cyber team have provided schools in our area with information on this issue and signposting for parents and teachers.
He added: "The web offers a degree of anonymity to criminals intent on grooming young people, allowing them to pretend to be someone they are not and gain trust and build relationships with younger people in order to exploit them. These relationships may feel like genuine friendships for that child or teenager but they are clearly not.
"Some young people over-share online, on social media and webcams and that type of behaviour can be exploited by some."
Officers have also been working with businesses and high street banks, looking at the type of online fraud that is happening at the moment. Sergeant John Black explained: “We are seeing incidents where fraudsters are accessing people’s social media and asking friends for money – our advice is simple, never give money to someone or a business over the internet without checking it is a legitimate request first.
"It is really important that we all become more aware of the possible risk of exploitation of our children and ourselves online, particularly via social media sites and how to report suspicious activity to the police.”
Advice and guidance for children, young people and adults to help them stay safe online is available at:
Officers will be holding a Q&A via the force's Instagram page on Tuesday, 9 February from 9am - visit merseysidepolice on Instagram for more information.
If you believe you or your child is a victim contact us - @MerPolCC. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If the life of a child is in immediate danger or a crime is ongoing dial 999.