Police urge caution to youngsters using social media sites

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A HAWICK police officer has warned local youngsters to protect themselves whilst using social networking sites.

The advice has been issued as the use of websites such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube form a growing part of the lives of teenagers – leading to incidents of cyber bullying amongst, not only Hawick High School pupils, but also local primary children.

PC Gavin Liddle, locality integration officer for Teviot, told the Hawick News: “The popularity of social networking with the younger generation today is huge, and this is not just localised to Hawick. Youngsters readily share details of their day-to-day lives, photos and videos of themselves plus others, and express their opinions within the online environment without recourse. And this can put them in dangerous situations.”

Officer Liddle has urged young people to ensure that the security measures on their accounts are set to private or friends only, to stop just anyone viewing their profile or making contact.

He has also pointed out that youngsters are more likely to add someone as a ‘friend’ even though they have no link to them in the real world.

He went on: “It is essential that parents open up a dialogue with their children about their use of the nternet, and what they can do to keep themselves safe whilst online.

“The problem of cyber bullying or abuse is no worse in Hawick than anywhere else, but it is something our officers have to deal with.”

PC Liddle added: “Should a young person feel threatened, intimidated or believe that someone is attempting to groom them, they should report the matter directly to Facebook, or the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre via www.ceop.police.uk. Information is also available for parents and young people at www.thinkuknow.co.uk.