Be aware of risks and get safe online

Hello everyone and welcome back to my column again. I hope you have all had an enjoyable and safe Christmas.

I’m sure some of you or your family members will have been lucky enough to receive a new mobile phone or electronic tablet as a present, providing a quick and easy way to access the internet and social media. We all need to be aware of the risks involved in doing so and I thought it would be useful to share some general information with parents on internet safety:

• Speak to your children about the benefits and dangers of the internet so that they can use the internet safely.

• Show an interest in their online activities - favourite websites, online games and interests and keep an eye on what they are doing online.

• Ask your children who they are talking to online and what they are talking about. Remind them how important it is to tell a trusted adult if something happens online that makes them feel uncomfortable or worried because there are people who can help.

• The best safeguard against online dangers is being informed. Jump in and learn the basics of the Internet - read articles, take a class, and talk to other parents. You don’t have to be an expert to have a handle on your child’s online world.

• Go to for lots of useful advice and information on how to stay safe online.

The New Year is always a really busy time for us in PSNI, and as we approach the festivities, I wanted to include some helpful night time safety advice for any party goers. We will be out and about keeping people safe, but its useful to remember these important tips. Arrange transport home in advance and don’t get isolated from your friends. Stay in well-lit areas and don’t wander in areas you are unsure of. Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from someone who you don’t know or trust. If you feel drunk, dizzy or disorientated seek help from a trusted friend or a member of bar staff.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year and I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you can contact your local police in a variety of ways. In a non-emergency please dial 101. You can also report non-emergency crimes/incidents online via the PSNI website: In an emergency always dial 999. Did you know you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter? @PSNI Foyle. Please keep vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us.