Children and young people have access to the internet and mobile phones like never before.   Both provide huge benefits to the user, particularly as a source of information and communication.   However, there are some significant consequences and risks to using both of these technologies, exposing the user to threats to their safety and wellbeing.

Examples of these risks are:
cyber bullying – Receiving texts, emails etc poses the threat of the child/young person feeling embarrassed, afraid, upset, victimised, and depressed, thus leading to low self- esteem and possible psychological damage.
Internet grooming – some people trawl the internet to specifically make contact with children and young people, with the sole intention/ purpose of developing an inappropriate relationship of which they move onto a more sexual way/activity.
Accessing unsuitable websites – Inappropriate material for the persons age, for example, pornographic images, unacceptable language, violent or hateful websites.   These types of websites could encourage anti-social, dangerous or inappropriate behaviour.
Being drawn into gangs or cliques- Just as these can form within the real world, they are just as likely to happen digitally or through the use of mobile phones.   Becoming drawn and involved into these groups can lead to anti-social, illegal and /or inappropriate behaviour.
Inadvertently or naively passing on personal information – This could lead to identity fraud/theft and grooming.

There are no ways to make the use of the internet and mobile phones completely safe.   It is however possible to reduce the risks to children and young people by using and implementing specific tools which include, reducing availability by the use of parental controls thus only allowing access to limited material; restricting access by blocking out inappropriate sites and increased awareness of the use of the internet and mobile phones, thus improving knowledge and skills for children,...