Yorkshire based Acceleris Marketing Communications (AMC) has embarked on an innovative partnership with North Yorkshire Police to help keep young people safe while surfing the internet and to raise awareness among parents of the issues ahead of Online Safety Day (7 February).
Acceleris Director Louise Vaughan with Mr Paul Stephenson
With five years experience of developing online strategies across the public and private sector supporting communities on effective online partnership working, Acceleris has sponsored North Yorkshire Police Youth Officer Paul Stephenson to undertake the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) accredited course and become an ambassador in online safety for young people.
The training covered on line technology, growing up online – the new young person, sexual offending, social web, risk taking behaviour, unhealthy networking, child protection and parent’s issues.
Mr Stephenson will use the training to visit schools across the region to coach children and parents on how to stay safe online, as well as the impact of cyber bullying and online fraud. Over the last five years he has helped over 4,000 young people across North Yorkshire be safer in their online activity at a time when the use of technology such as the internet in targeting children has “markedly increased” according to the charity Barnardo’s.
The qualification will allow Mr Stephenson to train others which will be extended to parents and teachers through forums to offer advice to increase understanding and expertise around online safety.
Social networking sites continue to grow in popularity with Twitter currently boasting 300 million users while Facebook has an impressive 800 million registered members. Meanwhile sites specifically for Children have also become increasingly popular including TogetherVille and Club Penguin which are designed specifically for children between the ages of six and 14.
Recent research carried out by Microsoft shows that 39 per cent of children admitted to using online sites that their parents would not approve of them using while 36 per cent of parents take absolutely no action to limit or monitor internet use in their home. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety said that one third of 8 – 12 year olds have a profile on sites that require users to register as being aged 13 or over.
In a statement Home Secretary Theresa May, said recently:
A child can now be at greater risk sat in their bedroom on their computer than outside the school gates. That’s why we need a new crime fighting force that works across different police forces and agencies protecting children in cyber space.
AMC has a strong portfolio of delivering social media campaigns to a number of social housing organisations across the UK.
Integrated communications agency Acceleris Marketing Communications, Director and Head of PR, Louise Vaughan, said:
We are pleased to be partnering with North Yorkshire Police and Harrogate News on this important initiative and hope through our work together we can help more youngsters enjoy all the benefits of social networking, whilst remaining safe. We recognise the importance of parents and children knowing how to stay safe online and we will engage with Mr Stephenson to train our staff to allow us to promote the initiative nationally via many of the organisations and social housing bodies we work with across the UK.
For further information on the North Yorkshire Police child safety training course please visit www.thinkyouknow.co.uk/parents