Suffolk’s cyber crime team meet students at Kesgrave High School to offer advice on staying safe on social media
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Officers from Suffolk police’s cyber crime unit have visited students at Kesgrave High School to chat with them about how to stay safe on social media.
Head of the team Charlotte Driver described social media websites and apps as a ‘playground for predators’ and that informing youngsters of he dangers was crucial in reducing the risks of going online.
Of recent concern is Snapchat’s new feature Snap Map, which can show people who follow you where you are at any given time.
Mrs Driver said: “What we deal with a lot in schools is sexting, we deal with a lot of malicious communications, we deal with cyber bullying, cyber harassment and incitement and grooming of children through social media.
“For us a lot of it is through Snapchat, a lot of it is though Instagram and for older people it is to do with Facebook but obviously there are a lot of other social media platforms out there.
“There is one of particular concern to us which is called Yellow which is like a teenage tinder, so a teenage dating site which again is open to abuse.
“The problem is you can hide behind different personas, you can hide behind different ages.
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“There are age limits involved with all social media sites but again it is open to abuse so you will find a lot of the younger children are going on there.”
Yesterday the team sat down with students, aged 11 and 12, to speak with them about their experiences.
Olivia Hunt, 12, said she thought children her age did understand the risks.
“I have got all my security on private so only people I know can follow me,” she said.
Frankie Bruce, 11, added: “There are people who say they are someone but they are really not.
“Some people are requesting to follow you but you don’t really know who they are so you don’t say yes to them.”
Maya Dalliday, 12, said she used Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp every day.
She said: “I have got private account but to think anyone could approach you, I don’t like that.
“I have had Instragram people I don’t know try to be friends with me but I decline it.”
Evie Barker, 12, is waiting until her 13th birthday to join social media.
“I can’t think of any of my friends that don’t have it,” she said.
Evie said she feels people her age are aware of the potential dangers of social media.
“I know risks of what can happen,” she said.
Teresa Rush, the school’s student support officer and online safety lead, said social media can be a ‘platform for people who want to target’.
She said: “I absolutely love social media. I think its a brilliant invention.
“But what comes with that is a new generation of risk.
“It is a brilliant invention and tool if used appropriately.
“There will always be people in society who will take an opportunity to target people and unfortunately social media allows this if it is not used correctly.”
For more information on how to stay safe on social media see here.
You can follow the cyber crime team on all forms of social media @NSTCyber