Parents and guardians are being asked to ‘Give Safe Gifts’ by setting the security settings on smart phones, laptops or games consoles before giving them to children for Christmas.
The Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership, West Yorkshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner are launching their ‘Give Safe Gifts’ campaign on Black Friday which is the start of Christmas shopping for many people.
Smart phones, games consoles and laptops will be top of the wish list for many children and young people. While these can be a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family, it is also possible for strangers who could be pretending to be someone else, to communicate with children via these devices. The campaign asks parents and family members to consider activating privacy settings before wrapping the gifts and therefore making sure children are protected when online.
Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, LSCP Independent Chair said:
“Christmas is an exciting time for children and parents may be considering buying toys and devices aimed at children and young people that connects to the internet.
We want children to enjoy all the benefits the internet brings and this is an opportunity to minimise risks to children and young people. The LSCP wish to maximise this opportunity and are proud to launch their Safe Gifts Campaign which is aimed at parents and carers and provides you with a wealth of information and advice to help them make their gifts as safe as possible.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said:
“It’s often said that prevention is better than the cure and this couldn’t be more true with regards to setting appropriate privacy settings on various devices.
“Whilst the police and partner agencies, such as the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership, have a crucial role to play, we all have a responsibility to protect young people and keep the festive period what it is meant to be, one of the best times of the year. So I am joining this campaign to urge everyone to ‘Give Safe Gifts’, making sure everyone fully understands the devices they buy, and to use the appropriate security settings more so than ever.
“Additionally, parents and carers may also find the Mr Shapeshifter resources we have developed useful in explaining potential online dangers to young people in an engaging way. The resources are free to use and include a short video as well as activities to do together.”
West Yorkshire Police’s Cyber Protect Officer PC Rob Cowgill added:
“Devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs are getting more secure, but hackers are also getting better.
“When you purchase a new device, you should always take time to make sure you’re protected against the latest threats.
“We recommend visiting the National Cyber Security Centre www.ncsc.gov.uk page on the GOV.UK website. Here you can find advice about securing your devices, privacy settings and general online safety information.
“Always make sure software and applications are up to date, use strong passwords and turn on two-factor authentication – as this is a way for the service you’re using to double check that you really are the person you claim to be when logging in.
“Also, please share these tips with your family and friends – particularly those who are less savvy than yourself. Having a chat about cyber today could protect you and others when online tomorrow.”
For online safety tips for safeguarding children see the LSCP website: www.leedsscp.org.uk