Helping youngsters to stay safe online

Jacqui Rogers, Safeguarding support officer, and Jim Murdoch, business manager for the Safeguarding Children's Board, supervise Kingsley Primary School pupils Macey Younger and

Jacqui Rogers, Safeguarding support officer, and Jim Murdoch, business manager for the Safeguarding Children's Board, supervise Kingsley Primary School pupils Macey Younger and

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CHILD protection officers have teamed up with schools to teach youngsters how to stay safe when using the internet.

The session at Kingsley Primary School, in Taybrooke Avenue, Hartlepool, was part of Safer Internet Day – an annual international event aimed at raising awareness of online safety issues.

As part of the campaign hundreds of children and young people across Hartlepool will receive copies of Ashleigh’s Rules.

These are a set of tips for staying safe online created by classmates of 17-year-old Darlington College student Ashleigh Hall, who was found dead on farmland near Sedgefield after going to meet a man she contacted on a social networking site in October 2009.

Peter Chapman, 32, originally from Stockton, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 35 years after admitting the kidnap, rape and murder of the teenager.

This year’s theme was centred around Virtual Lives using the slogan “It’s more than a game, it’s your life”.

Ashleigh’s Rules remind youngsters:

l If ever meeting up with somebody who is unknwon to them or their friends, make sure they meet them in a group of at least two or three and in a public, well lit and populated area;

l Inform somebody of where they are going and what time they will be back, also the name of whoever they are meeting;

l Don’t accept anyone on social networking sites they don’t know;

l Remember never to trust anyone who they have met online as they don’t know what they are capable of doing;

l Never tell a stranger on network sites or chat rooms anything personal and never meet anyone they don’t know.

Jim Murdoch, Hartlepool Safeguarding Children Board’s business manager, said: “The tragic death of Ashleigh Hall is a constant reminder of the dangers that do exist and during the week we will be distributing Ashleigh’s Rules to schoolchildren to help safeguard them in the future.”

If anyone has concerns about someone online or would like some advice call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.CEOP.police.uk

For more information on the work of the Hartlepool Local Safeguarding Children Board, visit www.lscbhartlepool.org