Third of cyber crime victims are under 18

Key issues include sexting and digital footprints Credit: PA Images

Cyber crime is becoming an increasing problem for children and teenagers.

Almost a third of cyber crime victims last year were less than 18 years old and the number of online crime victims in that age group has increased by 163%.

Avon and Somerset police are taking part in a national campaign to try and teach children and teenagers the importance of staying safe online.

Videos have been released as part of 'Safer Internet Day'.

One focuses on the dangers of sexting and the other shows the importance of understanding your digital footprint - in other words, what photos people can see of you or what personal information they can gather just by looking online.

Digital footprint:


Police officers will also be visiting schools to speak to young people about being safe online and giving information to parents and carers.

Advice for parents and carers

The UK Safer Internet Centre says the main online risks are:

  • Contact: children can be contacted by bullies or people who groom or seek to abuse them

  • Content: age-inappropriate or unreliable content can be available to children

  • Conduct: children may be at risk because of their own behaviour, for example, by sharing too much information

  • Commercialism: young people can be unaware of hidden costs and advertising in apps, games and websites

They say parents/carers should:

  • talk with children about staying safe online

  • make sure they use safety tools like privacy settings on social networks

  • decide if you want to use parental controls on the home internet

  • take a look at their parents' guide to technology

It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep young people safe, whether it’s in the real world or virtual world. We’re hoping these new videos and our work in schools will go some way towards raising awareness and let pupils know where to go if they need help or support.

Avon and Somerset Police