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Charity urges young people in Flintshire to stay safe on the web

A CHARITY is warning Flintshire youngsters to stay safe online.

Kidsafe UK, an organisation which helps protect children from all forms of abuse, is urging those who feel they may be victims of cyber-bullying or are uncomfortable with what other web users are telling them to do to tell a trusted adult.

The warning comes after the jailing earlier this month of Dale Andrew Jones, 21, from Buckley, who incited two girls aged just nine and 13 to engage in sex acts on the internet.

Judge Niclas Parry, at Mold Crown Court, said young children required protection now more than ever before because of the ever-increasing use of the internet in everyday life.

He said he could only hope the case would show the need for parents and guardians to exercise vigilance when their children were allowed to use the internet.

And police and child protection agencies are particularly keen to get the message across during the school holidays, when young people have more free time to go on to social networking websites such as Facebook.

Kidsafe UK manager Val Webb said: “The main message we want to get across is if somebody on the web is asking a child to do something they are not happy with, then the child should talk to a trusted relative.

“Children should use privacy settings – lots of young people do not set them and it leaves them open for anyone to look at their profile.”

Mrs Webb said there is an online initiative which can help report abuse and instances of cyber-bullying, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP), which has a readily available button on social networking websites.

She added: “Something we are very conscious about is peer pressure, where young people are bullied and go along with things they are asked to do, whether they want to or not.

“CEOP is an absolutely fantastic resource.

“The more young people who report things which they are not comfortable with, the more it will be taken seriously.”

For more information visit www.kidsafeuk.co.uk or www. ceop.police.uk.