Published: 15th May 2018

Huddersfield Giants Community has recently completed a hugely successful series of online safety assemblies engaging with over 10,000 young people to tackle online grooming and bullying.

The project was devised to increase the awareness of online safety with young people throughout Kirklees and most importantly, to improve their online safety. With the support of the West Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner Dave Iveson, we were able to produce an engaging assembly to deliver alongside a workbook for pupils throughout the region. Numerous Head Teachers have fed back that the assemblies have made a huge impact upon the safety of their pupils, in particular, their willingness to report suspicious activity.

Head of Sport at Huddersfield Community Trust, Jonathan Timms discussed the importance and impact of the programme, “We are living in an age where the internet is a huge part of young people’s lives and brings about many dangers. According to the NSPCC, 1 in 3 internet users are children and 1 in 4 children have experienced something upsetting on a social networking site. Figures such as these emphasise just how much we need to deal with online bullying which occurs on a daily basis on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Many children do not realise the potential dangers of the internet, so it was imperative for us to educate them on how they can protect themselves”.

With 3 in 4 parents actively looking for information and advice on how to deal with their children receiving online bullying, it was crucial our programme covered advice for parents too. Jonathan Timms said, “It is the responsibility of parents to safeguard their children and advise their children on managing the risks they face online. I am not sure that all parents realise the dangers of the internet and mobile apps. I would suggest that all parents should research the apps and games their children are using, especially the minimum age requirements. For example, children should not be using Snapchat before the age of 13, but when we talk to children in schools, hundreds are using it every day.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I was very pleased to be able to support this project with a grant from my Safer Communities Fund. Crime committed online is on the increase and one of the key defences against it is awareness. The majority of cyber-crime is preventable and by taking some simple steps you can help to safeguard yourself and the people you care about. My thanks to Jonathan and everyone at Huddersfield Community Trust for their hard work on this project.”

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