Social Networking Sites can be a good way of communicating and staying in touch with friends and family who may live a long way away from us. They are becoming an ever increasing part of our young people lives. As a school, we frequently speak to our young people about the possible dangers of Social Networking Sites and the need to ensure that, if they use such sites, that they:
- Set up their security settings
- Do not add people as ‘friends’ whom they do not personally know
- Do not put any personal details on their profiles
We ask for your continued support in re-enforcing these guidelines with your son/daughter. If you have concerns about anyone attempting to communicate with your child via the internet, or any inappropriate behaviour of others on Social Networking Sites, then we recommend that a referral is made to CEOP (The Child Exploitation and On-Line Protection Service, on 0870 000 3344). In such a situation, we recommend that your child immediately stops using their account and follow further advice given by CEOP.
As of Monday 12 July 2010, all young users of Facebook and their parents are invited to add the new ClickCEOP ‘app’ to their profile. Through this app, they will be able to access advice, help and support from the CEOP Centre. Crucially, young people will be able to report instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour directly from their profile to specially trained investigators.
The ‘app’ is the outcome of collaboration between CEOP and Facebook who have combined Facebook’s expertise in connecting and communicating online with CEOP’s expertise in helping young people stay safe.
Once added to their profiles, young users will receive regular messages from CEOP and its partner organisations who operate ‘behind the button’ to make children safer. CEOP’s new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ClickCEOP) will also contain polls, news alerts and status updates. The page will look at topics that teenagers care about, such as celebrities, music and exams and will link these subjects to questions about online safety.
Users can either add or bookmark the ‘app’ 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 move is also being supported by an advertising campaign on Facebook that will encourage take up. This will include an automatic advert appearing on every profile of users aged between 13-18 years inviting them to add the app.
Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre said:
“Today represents a huge step forward. By adding this app, Facebook users will have direct access to all the services that sit behind our ClickCEOP button and this should provide reassurance for the many parents whose teenage children use Facebook. “We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online. We urge all Facebook users not only to add the app, but also to bookmark it so that others can see that they’re in control online. Our dialogue with Facebook about adopting the ClickCEOP button is well documented this is a good day for child protection.”