Police workshops plan in bid to keep pupils safe online
8:52am Tuesday 15th February 2011 in Your Town
POLICE are considering holding internet safety workshops in schools across Bolton.
Officers confirmed they are looking into the possibility of holding the sessions with another organisation in a bid to keep youngsters safe while they surf the internet.
Insp Shane O’Neill, from GMP’s Bolton Division, said: “We have a well established Safer Schools Partnership and we work closely with the schools on issues such as internet safety, offering guidance and support when needed.”
And bosses from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which aims to protect children from sexual abuse, praised police.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “Sometimes pupils respond better if police or someone other than a teacher talks about internet safety.
“We have had really good feedback and young people take on board what they are saying.”
Greater Manchester Police is following in the footsteps of neighbouring forces, including Cheshire, which already holds the workshops.
A major concern for CEOP is ‘sexting’, which involves teenagers sending racy photographs of themselves via text message, without thinking about the consequences of them getting into the wrong hands.
And staff from CEOP already work with schools in Bolton so teachers can deliver the Think U Know project, which is tailored for five to 16-year-olds. The project involves films, presentations, games, lesson plans and posters covering issues from grooming by child sex offenders to cyber bullying.
Children are told to flag up any concerns and to have fun with the internet and phones while staying in control.
Andrew Green-Howard, the deputy head of Bolton School’s Girls’ Division in Chorley New Road, is a CEOP ambassador and holds talks for children, parents and teachers across Bolton.
He said: “Often with social networking sites such as Facebook people are expressing themselves creatively and don’t mean to be hurtful but that is what comes out.
“It is difficult as young people think they are experts online but they are quite naive.”
He said communicating the risks with pupils has resulted in them increasing their privacy settings to better protect themselves.