Cheshire Police is marking today’s global Safer Internet Day (Tuesday, February 9) by providing tips to protect yourself when using the web.
The day is particularly aimed at young people with shocking statistics showing four in five teenagers have witnessed online hate targeting a specific group in the last year.
Cheshire Constabulary says eight out of ten cyber crimes are preventable if people follow simple steps.
Among the suggested precautions are:
• Don’t divulge or share your personal details/information.
• Don’t open emails from people you don’t know
• Don’t accept people/follow people you don’t know on social media.
A national survey of 13 to 18-year-olds released to coincide with Safer Internet Day found 24% reported that they were targeted on the internet because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or transgender identity.
However, the survey of more than 1,500 teenagers also found 93% of respondents had seen their friends posting supportive, kind of positive content about a certain group in the last year.
Cheshire police and crime commissioner John Dwyer said: “Nowadays the internet is with us wherever we go, through smart phones, tablets; all things we have with us every day and often couldn’t live or work without.
“It’s vital that we all work together to make the internet safe, by taking the right precautions when online and reporting any content that we come across which is potentially harmful or dangerous. I encourage everyone to play their part for a better internet, not just today, but every day.”
Part of Safer Internet Day is the #shareaheart social media campaign which involves people writing positive messages in specially-designed heart signs then tweeting a picture of themselves holding the heart to spread the word.
The heart symbol was chosen as a universal sign for love, to promote respect and kindness online.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne , who has tweeted a photo of himself with his heart sign, added: “Whilst we hear a lot about cyber crime, the simple truth is that eight out of ten cyber crimes are preventable if people follow simple steps. This will be at the heart of this campaign.”
Safer Internet Day 2016 is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre with more than 1,000 organisations, including schools, involved in helping to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
More information about staying safe online can be found here on the Cheshire Police website.