Greater Manchester is uniting to help make a better internet for children as part of this year’s Safer Internet Day.
‘It’s Not Okay’, Greater Manchester’s partnership approach to tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), is calling on all Greater Manchester communities to take action and educate children on the signs of CSE and what to do if they think they are a victim.
The ‘It’s Not Okay’ partnership, which is made up of public and third sector partners throughout Greater Manchester, is working with parents and carers to protect children and teach them to enjoy the internet in a safe way.
Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Children are often streets ahead when it comes to online technology, but we know from experience that some young people lack the judgement needed to keep themselves safe and they get into trouble.
“We’re asking parents to make their children aware of the dangers of sharing information and images over the internet, and urging young people to think twice before uploading.
“Most importantly, we want young people to know that no matter how far it’s gone, what’s been said or sent, it’s not your fault and it’s never too late to get help.”
Detective Superintendent Joanne Rawlinson from GMP said: “Safer Internet Day is the perfect time for us to continue the conversation about children’s online safety. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning and socialising but there are many dangers that we need to be aware of and act upon.”
“We’re encouraging children to know the dangers of sexting, speaking to people they don’t know online, and remember that it’s never too late to report something that concerns them. We’re also appealing directly to parents – please be aware of who your children are speaking to online, what apps they are using and the age restrictions that exist on them. They are there for a reason.”
“Child sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault and anybody concerned about a young person should report it to police on 101.”
With the help of ‘It’s Not Okay’ schools, parents and carers across Greater Manchester will be raising awareness of the dangers that exist online, sharing information on what to look out for and what children can do if they need help.
Paul Maher, Greater Manchester Area Manager at The Children’s Society, said: “While the internet and social media have many benefits, there are also risks because they give would-be perpetrators of child sexual exploitation access to children and young people no matter where they are.”
“More needs to be done to educate and protect not just children themselves about these risks but also parents, teachers and professionals, and we would like to see a requirement for online safety and healthy relationships to be taught in Personal Social and Health Education lessons in all schools.”
“Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and offer advice on how to stay safe but we need everyone to embrace online safety all year round if we want to minimise the risks to children and young people.”
Safer Internet Day 2017 takes place on Tuesday 7th February with the theme ‘Be the change: Unite for a better internet’.
Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of schools and organisations join together to raise awareness of online safety issues and run events and activities right across the UK.
Anyone who is concerned about a young person can call police on 101 and speak to one of the staff from the It’s Not Okay team, or by visiting www.itsnotokay.co.uk for help and advice.
Follow the conversation online using #SID2017