Police issue safety advice to internet users

It is estimated that about 80 per cent of the population of Northern Ireland has access to the internet – and the number of people who have never used it is reducing.

A lot of people find the worldwide web educational, entertaining and useful, but not everyone on the web is who they claim to be. Fraudsters use the internet to line their own pockets; sexual predators use it to target victims.

What they need most of all is to know who you are, so you must protect your identify.

To do that you should:

• Restrict access to personal information or photographs to your friends

• Don’t accept invitations to become ‘friends’ with people you do not know

• If you are on a chat site – even one as seemingly innocuous as about your favourite football team – limit the information that could help strangers identity you

• Check your privacy settings and change your passwords regularly

• Always secure your mobile phones and tablets with a safety code in case they are lost or stolen

• Do not send photographs of yourself to people you have never met – or accept pictures from strangers.

• Parents should try to supervise the sites their children access

• Encourage your children to tell you of any contacts that make them uncomfortable.

For more useful advice and other useful websites log on to the PSNI website.

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