Parents warned of online dangers

Studyseed CIC Directors Siofra Frost and Jayne Hamilton, Constable Gary McKeown of Craigavon PSNI, Stephen Graham of O2 Portadown, Josh of O2 Craigavon.
Studyseed CIC Directors Siofra Frost and Jayne Hamilton, Constable Gary McKeown of Craigavon PSNI, Stephen Graham of O2 Portadown, Josh of O2 Craigavon.

Parents have been given a warning on the dangers of social media and apps at a recent information evening.

Studyseed CIC hosted the community information evening in Bleary Business and Community Centre with the aim of keeping children safe online.

Speakers from O2, the NSPCC and the Craigavon PSNI gave information on the technological and criminal aspects of child safety on the internet.

The event was attended by parents, guardians, teachers and other local residents. Studyseed is an educational support service.

O2 provided an interactive presentation on keeping children safe online through app awareness and gave strong signposting to organisations such as CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) and Thinkuknow (https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/). Every O2 shop has a dedicated Guru who can advise on how to protect children through the phones or tablets that they are using - no matter what network they might actually be on.

Constable Gary McKeown from the Craigavon PSNI warned parents about the criminal aspects surrounding child safety online, with some eye-opening stories that drew to light the harsh reality of the dangers that our young people - here in Northern Ireland - face over the internet. He also drew attention to the importance of reporting any online incidents to CEOP (https://ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/) and emphasised the ways in which parents and guardians can keep an eye on their children’s whereabouts through technology - such as ‘Find My iPhone’.

Studyseed CIC launched their monthly community information evenings with the topic of child safety online as it is an area of growing concern for many of the parents and guardians they work with.

Directors Jayne Hamilton and Siofra Frost said, “O2, NSPCC and Craigavon PSNI have a wealth of expert knowledge and experience that they were able to convey to those in attendance at our event. As an educational support service, we would urge other community organisations to avail of these speakers and to provide them with a platform to deliver the information that parents need on new technology.”