Police in South Tyneside are urging parents youngsters to make sure their youngsters are safe online this summer.
Northumbria Police is supporting a campaign aimed at keeping children safe when they are gaming online during the school holidays.
Unfortunately, some people playing these games are not who they say they are, but by working together, we can stop these online criminals.Detective Inspector Angela Hufton
It comes after a survey of 2,000 parents revealed that 91% of their children played games online, with more than a third playing on their consoles at least once a day.
Figures from internet safety initiative, Get Safe Online, also show that 37% of parents feel they have no control over their children playing online games.
Children’s online activity is often out of view of their parents and police say it could be dangerous, with children sharing personal information on online gaming forums and forming friendships with people through virtual characters.
Detective Inspector Angela Hufton, head of the Cyber Crime Unit, said: “As parents, it is impossible to know what your children are doing all of the time, particularly when it comes to online activities.
“In the same way you would warn your children about the risks of riding a bike or crossing a road, it is important to educate your children on how to stay safe at all times when online.
“Unfortunately, some people playing these games are not who they say they are, but by working together, we can stop these online criminals.”
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: “Young people should be on their guard against random friend requests and make sure they don’t share any private information which could put them at risk.”
Northumbria Police has issued these top tips for safe online gaming:
• Have an open and honest conversation with your kids about their online gaming and the risks involved
• Tell kids never to reveal private information like their real name, email address, home address, family members or financial details.
• Explain that not everybody is who they seem or claim to be, and their motives may be suspicious.
• Tell them not to respond to bullying or other abuse, and to tell you straight away if they are experiencing this
• Join in with youngsters gaming from time to time. This will give you an idea of the games they’re playing and who they connect with.
• Set and monitor limits for the amount of daily or weekly time your kids spend online gaming.
• Check age ratings of games to ensure your kids aren’t accessing inappropriate content.
• Never give your child your payment card details as extras can be very costly.