Do you know what your children are doing online this summer?
What will your kids be doing in the summer break?
If they’re like most children, they’ll probably be getting up and going to bed later. Playing out more. And if they’re lucky, you might be taking them away on holiday. What’s almost certain is that they’ll be going online more than in term time … for entertainment, keeping in contact and chatting with their mates, gaming and the multitude of other things kids use the internet for.
With all the additional time spent doing more online, how can you be sure that the young people in your family are safe from the issues they can encounter every day?
Check out these easy-to-follow tips to help your child enjoy a safe and confident experience online.
- Chat regularly with your child about what they do online and get them to show you. Get to know about new technologies and trends. Talk about the potential negatives, like oversharing, seeing inappropriate content, cyberbullying, stranger danger, uncontrolled spending of money and being online for too long. Set a good example yourself.
- Steer your child towards safe searching, websites and apps. Check what they’re watching and/or sharing on streaming sites like YouTube and TikTok. Encourage them to use child-friendly platforms like YouTube Kids.
- Gaming, social media, picture/video sharing and many other apps and websites have lower age limits for a reason, so you should make sure your child doesn’t access those for which they’re underage.
- Download apps only from recognised sources like App Store and Google Play. Add your own email address when setting up accounts and apps for your child.
- Discuss and agree boundaries and rules from a young age, including appropriate online usage, always being respectful and how much time they spend online. Empower them, but remember they don’t have the experience or maturity to always make the right decisions.
- Consider setting up parental control software and apps on computers, mobile devices and games consoles, privacy features on social networking sites, safety options on search engines and safe location settings on devices and apps. Turn on your ISP’s family filters.
- Stay familiar with new game and social media trends, especially those attracting negative publicity because they may be violent, encourage gambling or leave the way open for messaging random strangers, enabling potential grooming or other types of coercion.
- For video calls, ensure your child’s safety by updating to the platform’s latest version, following its safety advice and checking that call invitations and replies can’t be seen by anybody outside the agreed call group.
- Online gaming is widely recognised as having many developmental benefits for young people, but talk to them about potential negatives like chatting to strangers, in-game purchases (like loot boxes, skins and cheats), and overdoing screen time.
- Talk to your child about misinformation, disinformation and fake news. Tell them not to believe or share everything they see or read, especially in these days of sponsored ‘news’ and AI-generated images, videos and text.
- Warn your child about confidential information, personal details and images/video about themselves or others they share in posts, profiles, messages and chats. Consider what you share yourself.
- Without being controlling, keep an eye on your child’s online activities and know how to recognise the signs of something not being right. For example, criminals have exploited increased online use for recruiting children into illegal activities such as cybercrime and drug muling.
Get Safe Online
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of information and advice on online safety and security, for the public and small businesses. It is a not-for-profit, public/private sector partnership backed by law enforcement agencies and leading organisations in internet security, banking and retail.
For more information and expert, easy-to-follow, impartial advice on safeguarding yourself, your family, finances, devices and workplace, visit www.getsafeonline.org.
21 million scam emails reported
Almost 21 million reports have been made to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS), resulting in the removal of over 235,000 malicious websites.
SERS was launched by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the City of London Police in April 2020 to enable the public to forward suspicious emails to an automated system that scans them for malicious links. Since its launch, almost 21 million reports have been made to the service.
Mobile phone providers also offer a service that allows customers to report suspicious text messages, by forwarding them to the number 7726. The service is free of charge and enables providers to takedown malicious websites and block malicious texts from being sent across their network.
As of 31 May 2023, 54,000 text message scams have been removed as a result of suspicious texts forwarded to the 7726 service.
Commander Nik Adams, from City of London Police, said:
“Every year, thousands of people in the UK are scammed by a fraudulent email or text message. Phishing scams, whether it’s a text message claiming you have missed a delivery and are required to pay a redelivery fee, or an email claiming to be from your bank are a common security challenges that both individuals and businesses across the UK face on a daily basis.
“If you receive an email or text message that you think might be a scam, don’t respond to it or click any links in the message or email. Instead, contact the organisation directly using contact information from the company’s official website, and not the links or numbers provided in the message itself.
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. By reporting phishing scams or suspected fraud, you are directly helping us in our work to identify and stop these criminals and helping us protect others from these scams. If you are in Scotland, I ask that you report the fraud directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.”
How to protect yourself from scam emails and texts
Received an email or text that seems suspicious? Report it. Your reports enable us to remove the emails and websites criminals use to commit fraud and cyber crime.
- Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com . Send emails to this address that feel suspicious, even if you’re not certain they’re a scam – we can check.
- Forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (it’s free of charge). Your provider can find out where the text came from and block or ban the sender.
- If you’ve lost money or provided personal information as a result of a phishing scam, notify your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud (see below)
Please note: Sometimes a forwarded email may not reach us because it is already recognised by spam detection services. You can also take a screenshot of the email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Last month several reports of burglaries across Chichester district have been received. We are reminding our residents to keep windows and doors locked when their property is unoccupied. Burglaries are often the result of burglars gaining entry through open or unlocked doors and windows. Ensure windows and doors are in good condition. Keep your doors and windows locked, especially if you are elsewhere in the house.
Keep side gates locked at all times. Ensure that ladders and tools are locked away as an opportunistic burglar can find the tools they need in your shed or garage to break into your home.
There have also been several reports of vehicle crime across Chichester district.
In Chichester there were two incidents where vehicles were broken into and purses stolen. A third incident saw a vehicle broken into and loose change was stolen.
In Fittleworth the rear window of a vehicle was smashed and in Chichester both sets of number plates were stolen from a vehicle.
Having your car broken into and losing your things to thieves can be very distressing. Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep your vehicle, and what’s in it, safe. https://www.sussex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/keeping-vehicles-safe/
If you have information about any crime call 101, email: email@example.com or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you see crime taking place call 999.
WG Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator – Priscilla Pinkham