Police ask youth to think before sharing on web

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Have you ever shared a video, photo or comment online? Do you always think before you share?

That’s the question being asked during a live broadcast on Safer Internet Day, today (February 11) when young people will be asked to think about the risks of sharing videos, photos and personal details when they’re online, which they might not in the real world.

A panel of representatives from the force and partner organisations which work with young people will discuss issues in front of a live audience. Topics covered will include how far photos, videos and comments can be shared once they’re online; how young people could be breaking the law through something as simple as a retweet; people’s responsibilities when sharing information about other people and anonymously; what young people should do if something goes wrong when they’re online.

The audience at the debate, which will be beamed live from Sussex Police headquarters, will include police officers, and staff, partner organisations, and schoolchildren.

A new video on the subject of information sharing for young people will also be premiered at the event.

Deputy Chief Constable Giles York said, “The Internet offers fantastic opportunities for sharing ideas, learning and socialising, and young people are often the quickest to pick up the latest innovations. This can be really positive, but there are pitfalls and dangers, some of which we will be discussing at the event.

“So often we see people doing things online which they just wouldn’t do face to face. To some this can seem like harmless fun, in reality, cyber bullying, online harassment and fraud devastates people’s lives.

“I’ve used social media for many years, and have increasingly seen how being behind a screen, tablet or mobile device, gives people a false sense of security. People forget that their personal details can be viewed by anyone, or that an offensive comment aimed at someone else can be really damaging.

“The frequency with which people are contacting us about issues they’ve had on social media has risen over the past five years. For example, in 2008 we had just over 50 calls per month where users mentioned ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’. By 2014, this has risen to over 20 calls per day.

“Making the internet a safer place is a shared effort. Although at this event we’re focusing on young people, this is just as relevant for adults too, and also parents and others who are responsible for looking after the safety of others.”

Viewers can watch online today between 12-1pm at www.sussex.police.uk/whats-happening/think-before-you-share-11-february-2014 and join in on Twitter using the hashtag #thinkbeforeyoushare.

The event is being held on Safer Internet Day which this year is encouraging internet users to take responsibility for making the internet a better place.