The police want children and parents in the Highlands and Islands to add a new application to their Facebook sites to make them safer online.
The “ClickCEOP” application was made available by the police on Monday on its official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/northern.constabulary
The UK’s national law enforcement agency dedicated to child protection – the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre) – and Facebook, the biggest social networking site, have joined forces to develop the initiative.
For the first time, it will give all Facebook users in the UK – especially those aged between 13-18 years – the very latest help on online safety as well as a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour.
A police spokesman said: “The access will be provided via an ‘app’ that users can add or bookmark so it appears on their profile, as not only a constant source of help and reassurance for them but also as a strong visual signal to their friends, family and others that they are in control online.
“The internet is an amazing place where we can connect with each other and have fun, but we know that young users of social networking sites can be vulnerable.
“This announcement by CEOP represents a significant step forward in keeping young people safer on Facebook and we would urge all Facebook users in Highlands and Islands to add this application. If you are a parent on Facebook, add the app and encourage your children to do so too.
“This will act as a visible deterrent to offenders and your child will receive regular online safety tips from CEOP, so you can feel reassured that they are better protected online.”
As well as adding the ClickCEOP app, there are a number of other ways in which young people can stay safe when using Facebook, the police said. They include:
• Make sure privacy settings are set to private so the only people who can see your page and information are your friends;
• Some people lie about who they are online so only add friends who you know in the real world;
• Block or delete people who upset you or send nasty messages;
• Tell a trusted adult if you have a concern about something that has happened to you online.