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Parents urged to consider online safety over summer

It comes amid a rise in online recorded online sex offences across Northern Ireland. Photo: PA

Parents are being urged to make sure their children stay safe online over the summer.

The NSPCC said the latest police figures for Northern Ireland show there has been a 28% increase in cyber-related sex crimes over the last year.

Amid these worrying figures, the charity said it is more important than ever for parents to know what their children are doing online - and to be aware of the pitfalls.

Its advice includes having conversations with children about internet use, exploring sites and apps together and knowing who the child is talking to online.

Margaret Gallagher from the NSPCC said: “In the long summer months, the online world can provide many benefits for children. However, it is not without risks, and often parents can find it hard to keep track of what their children are doing online.

“Parents need to start conversations with their children about what they are viewing online, as early as possible.

“We have found that discussing this topic with your child and regularly talking to your child is the best way to keep them safe.

“Setting some boundaries about what they view online can create a good level of trust about this important issue in your family.

“If parents aren’t sure how to start the conversation, there are lots of online tools on the NSPCC website to give them the knowledge and confidence to talk about what can be an often overwhelming topic.”