Transcript: New technologies and child protection

The event explored the challenges of, and solutions to, protecting children, given the emergence of social media and other technologies.

Podcast Episode: New technologies and child protection

Category: Child protection 


What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

MD - Michelle Drumm
CM - Colin McKerracher
BS - Beth Smith
BW - Bill White
KS - Kelly Stone
IW - Ian Watson
PR - Pauline Rattray
KL - Katrina Laing
SK - Stewart Kerr

MD On the 1st of March 2013, attended the New Technologies and Child Protection Conference, which was held at the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan. It was hosted by WithScotland in partnership with the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre and the Youth Justice National Development Team. The event explored the challenges of and solutions to protecting children, given the emergence of social media and other technologies. Colin McKerracher, Chief Constable of Grampian Police and Chair of the conference spoke to us about his role in child protection, the significance of the event and the benefits and challenges of using social media.

CM I am a 40 year veteran of policing, about to retire in four weeks time, I have been the Chief Constable of Grampian for 9 years and 7 years ago I got involved in child protection as the Chair of the North East of Scotland Child Protection Committee. About 2 and a bit years ago I was asked to chair the National Child Protection and Chair’s forum and from that job I got involved with Scotland as the Chair of their steering group, and so my involvement in this side of public life, I suppose, has been fairly hectic for the past 7 years. I think it’s learning that’s now being drawn together, but you see this a lot in various aspects of life where new technology, for instance, is introduced, but it takes you a few years to realise what the benefits and the difficulties are around about it, and I think we are now at a point where we are starting to amass a significant amount of knowledge from professionals and from academics that we can now bring it together and share it, and give people better opportunities to deal with the real threats and risks and harm that comes from technology, as well as being able to promote the good of it. In terms of young people I think we are seeing the benefit in terms of communication, in terms of learning, you know when I think back to my own childhood and how we used to communicate and how we used to learn compared to what I see my grandchildren, who are sort of 11 and 8, and the way they handle computers. I mean I am still fairly IT illiterate, they pick up pads and phones and just work them, so I think there’s a real benefit in our new generations picking this stuff up and understanding how they can get the best out of it, and the dangers are that at the same time as you are doing that, you can expose yourself and make yourself vulnerable if you don’t know what those challenges are, so I think this is a good opportunity to bring that all together and then to put some good messages out into the community.

One of the things that With Scotland does really well is it offers a gateway for any professional in Scotland to get advice and the help of experienced colleagues who have already dealt with a situation that they haven’t dealt with, and I think this is … getting the professionals together across the disciplines in an event like today allows us to hear each other, but also to signpost them to the organisations, not only with Scotland, but others who can help them and give them the backup they need to deal with these situations.

I think there’s always going to be huge challenges, you know, and one of our challenges, with my police hat on, and I suppose just with my child protection hat on is to find ways in which we can better identify the perpetrators of the evil if you like, and try to close them down and identify them, and that is a challenge. But it’s a challenge in all aspects of crime, serious organised crime, drug dealers, are all using … you know we get people using phones and they have got 2 or 3 phones and then they drop the phones and pick up another 2 or 3, and so to even get some sort of surveillance or understanding of what they are doing becomes increasingly difficult, so it’s going to be a big challenge, but hopefully conferences like this and people working together across the professions with the technology experts, we can get some way forward on it.

MD Detective Chief Constable Scobie from Tayside, famously said that if you can trust a police officer with a truncheon, you can surely trust them with Twitter. When asked if this message should be more widely promoted to professionals, Colin had this response.

CM Gordon is a real champion of social media, as you know, and he leaves us all in his wake in many ways and I think as a profession we are slowly picking it up and beginning to understand ourselves what the benefits and challenges are of it. I have to say I suppose I am a bit of sceptic in one sense, because I think the good of it can get lost in 1 bad Tweet or 1 bad piece of publicity, you know sometimes … and particularly with policing, I think people very often are looking for a negative story rather than a positive one, and I think the shame in that is there’s a lot of very positive work being done with social media. If you go to the London riots of last year, was it … although it was said that the rioters used social media very well, the police used it very well also, and I guess that got lost for some time before that story started to emerge. I think it’s there for us all to use and I don’t think there’s anybody who should be frightened of using it.

MD Beth Smith, Director of With Scotland, spoke to us about why the event was organised and the challenges around young people and the use of new technologies.

BS I think first of all to say we have organised the event in conjunction with the Criminal Justice and Social Work Development Centre, and part of our work is about making connections, so connections across that arena of criminal justice, youth justice and child protection, but also interms of connecting research and practice and knowledge and ideas, so we are bringing together the sort of expertise around the research and the practitioners to raise awareness and gain a better understanding of what is quite a challenging issue for people.

It is quite interesting still to be calling them ’new technologies’, which for young people aren’t new and they have grown up with them and I suppose that’s one of the challenges, that they are very much further ahead than quite a lot of the adults who are looking after them, who are caring for them, you know who are working with them. So I think probably as professionals we need to build our knowledge. I think it’s opened up a whole new world for people which is a great opportunity, but it also brings particular risks, and again it’s just trying to help professionals work with young people and manage some of these risks, not to be overreacting, but in actually looking at the benefits and the challenges and being, I suppose, proportionate in responses to them.

MD Her response as to whether there’s a requirement for professionals to become more familiar with social media and other technologies, was as follows.

BS Absolutely, I think so and another thing, because I have had to get up to speed with some of this myself and you keep saying, but it is amazing the number of professionals you hear saying “we don’t do that, we don’t do Twitter, we don’t know about how to, oh, we don’t use the internet” …and I think it’s just, it’s kind of almost beyond belief that people can do their job nowadays without knowing how to use the internet and … so I guess it’s a whole new world that we need to become more familiar with if we are going to help and support children and young people.

MD Bill White, Professor of Social Work Cities and Criminal and Justice at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre, offered some insight into the most important issues from a criminal justice perspective as regards young people and the internet.

BW I think the challenge we have got, as you have said, is that there’s this huge explosion of usage and it creates opportunity, which is a very positive thi9ng, but it clearly creates opportunities for criminality as well, and there is a huge amount of myth out there because the truth is, as we have heard already in the conference, our scientific knowledge if you like, or our systematic knowledge is still pretty limited, and our ability to get that kind of knowledge is growing, but it’s at a very early stage. So inevitably practice and responses are often developed around experience, intuition and so on, so probably the most important thing for us here today is just to share what we seem to know, but maybe more importantly, what we certainly don’t know so that we understand that often our practice is at best exploratory, rather than that it’s really systematic. Now whether you’re in the Police or whether you are in Child Protection, you have to go with what we know and what we understand, and already as we have heard this morning, there’s the development of frameworks and typologies and risk indicators, but the big question between the relationship between internet and direct contact, well we heard again this morning, there is a link, but it’s so tenuous in some of the figures and so substantial in the others, you are left with inevitably huge risk of false positives, false negatives in every assessment that we do, that means practitioners have to bring their own formulation if you like, and their own ability to see beyond the tools and to use them. That’s a huge challenge, because some of the disciplines, particularly in psychology probably have a greater standing and they certainly have more experience in working in this, but the bottom line Social Worker is the one who is often, in reality, left with the responsibility for this assessment, and it’s very difficult for them to be able to stand in their own right, behind or in front of a body of knowledge and speak with authority, so to some extent they almost need to use their weakness as it’s strength, being able to formulate views that show what we don’t know as well as what we do know, and I suppose the task for us in Scotland is to make sure that they have access to the best information we have got and the best people that we have got.

MD A background in primary and higher education, Kelly Stone, Research Fellow Coordinator at WithScotland, offered her thoughts on challenges of new technologies and young people.

KS I think there are lots of challenges … my challenge in particular in actually working on this project was really just getting to grips with all of the information in the area I really feel that there’s so much … it seemed like every couple of days I was finding a new story in the media, a new risk, a new aspect of internet safety that I hadn’t known before, so I think it’s a vast field, I also think it changes very quickly, so I think, for me doing the research that was an issue, but I would imagine for practice, for professionals, I would think that’s likely a huge issue. It can be overwhelming, but I also think it’s probably quite difficult to feel you are on top of knowing all of the issues in the end.

There seem to be a lot of issues around Facebook and social networking, it also seemed to me that a lot of people are very concerned about the changing nature of the devices, so you know, the Smart Phones and Tablets, the fact that children and young people have those or can have those with them all the time, but also I suppose maybe the private nature that they can be hidden away and I think there’s always this worry or suspicion about what are they actually doing with those devices.

IW Where do you think the primary responsibility is for keeping young people safe on the internet, is it parents, is it schools, is it themselves, is it peers …?

KS That’s a good question, I think, again thinking about the research, a lot of it really does seem to emphasis the important role of parents, that parents have a strong role to play there, and I think that’s right, but of course my concern is all these … that isn’t always going to be possible for every child, they’re not going to have that kind of active involvement or interest from a parent, so I really do think it’s important for universal services as well, so I guess there I really am thinking about education, that is … and that’s the place where children spend a lot of time, so I think … I am very aware that the curriculum is packed and it’s something else to fit in, but I don’t think we can avoid the issue that internet safety is very important, and as many people as possible need to be trying to help and support young people.

IW And do you think this is changing as even younger people are growing up where, Facebook, sharing photos, Tweeting, chatting online, is just part of normal everyday existence? Do you see any sort of change happening there?

KS I think so, I don’t work with young people any more or children, so I am not really aware of how that feels in practice, but certainly when I am thinking about the research, just for example something I was really quite surprised and probably alarmed by was the issue of ‘sexting’, that so many young people were saying, this is just what we are expected to do, we are expected to take these issues of ourselves and send them on, and so if that is, if that becomes part of what they think is usual, you know usual, normal development, then that really does worry me actually, that this really seems to be the time that we need to start having those discussions with young people to say, well is it normal and is this something that you should be doing, and what are the consequences of it if you do that?

MD A number of workshops were run throughout the day and we spoke to 2 on the topic of peer education and mentoring. Teacher of Guidance at Girvan Academy and pupils at the academy, Charlotte and Stephanie, 2 peer mentors, and Lauren and Ellie from the S1 class. They tell us more about the peer mentoring programme and the effect that learning from ones peers can bring. Firstly, Ian Watson from Iriss spoke to Pauline Rattray, Principal Teacher of Guidance at Girvan Academy and pupils at the academy, Charlotte and Stephanie, two peer mentors, and Lauren and Ellie from the S1 class. They tell us more about the peer mentoring programme and the effect that learning from ones peers can bring.

IW Can you tell me something about how this came about, or when did you start becoming peer mentors, what year did that start in?

Peer mentor: At the end of S5 we get given our option sheets for the subjects that we are going to take in S6, and it’s actually integrated into our options choice, it’s a non vocational column which is the last 2 periods on a Friday, just a subject you take that isn’t, you don’t get an exam on, it’s just something that you do to get something out of it, so for leisure basically, and that’s how all of us got involved, we chose peer education.

IW And there are 14 of you currently who are peer mentors?

Peer mentor: Uh huh.

IW Would you have considered yourself quite internet savvy when you decided to do this?

Peer mentor: Probably not, you were just like any normal teenager, you just use social network sites and that was it, it wasn’t anything big about it, it was just Facebook, Twitter, Tweet, and then that was it, it wasn’t anything .. but then when you actually go into more detail and you actually learn about it, you actually realise, ‘oh, I need to think about that before I …’ and you are seeing like sometimes cases in schools, school ties you onto a website sometimes and like they find out and then there’s consequences, so it is, you have got to be quite careful whenever you are online, it does make you aware, definitely.

I think we realise that we do know more about the internet than we realised before we started this, because certainly first years, even the teachers who you wouldn’t even think would know any less than you, they will ask you something and then you realise, oh hang on a minute, maybe I know more than I thought I did. And so the whole purpose of this is to generally recognise that the internet is there, I think you said children as young as 8 are on Facebook, you know it’s against the rules and we can’t stop that.

IW Do you get much evidence of having an impact on making the young people or the younger pupils feel safer?

Peer mentor: I think, you know, they don’t necessarily come back to us a few months later and say, “I did this and guess what happened?”, but there are a few cases like when Lauren said earlier on, that after we raised the fact that you could identify what school you went to from having your tie on in your profile picture, that’s sort of like an immediate reward and you think, well if that’s one thing that I have done that could potentially prevent an internet paedophile approaching a young student, then it’s definitely, we see an impact there, but in the long term, I think we just have to rely on the fact that they do keep themselves safe.

PR I mean you do your Focus group, which is really valuable and the young people go back 3 months later and check with the first year what kind of messages they have remembered over that time and the plan is to revisit that four yearly, so … and that would be just as a kind of launch to the second year input on internet safety. Interesting, just as the messages they have received in first year have retained such a high level of retention for 1 full year, 3 months later it was super messages were still there, will there be a fall off … we have got to go ahead into that year and check.

IW Do you get the impression … do some of the younger pupils decide they don’t really need your help, they don’t want it or they are quite safe?

Peer mentor: Yes, in our class we had like the one boy that kind of acted up a bit, but he kind of settled down after a couple of times and you always felt he wasn’t listening, because he was either distracted and he had a bit of paper and he was drawing on it or something, but the class teacher would always recognise that so they would go over and sit beside him and things, so … you do kind of think they get distracted and it’s quite easy for them I think to get distracted.

PR I think it was really important that we included that young person that you are talking about because he does have additional support needs regarding his behaviour, and it might have been nice to have said, let’s take him out of that class and peer mentors would be very confident there was nobody in the class that was going to be fidgety or chatty or give a wee smart answer, but in fact to include him in the message, he might be the most vulnerable young person, and so there was a discussion about would we exclude him from that lesson, and he might miss out, and I think all of us agreed it was much better he was in the class. You got to kind of know him and you had a laugh with him, after a while he got used to you, so then it was just so much easier to interact with him and made the … you will listen or I can’t go in, he’s going to be like this today more whatever, but it was fine after. There was always going to be 1 or 2 in the year that viewed you as you as you were just a student, you are not a teacher, so therefore you don’t have any authority over me, and there’s always going to be 1 that says “well I don’t need to listen to you, who are you, you are just a pupil.” But you tended that by the second or third time you had been in, they were starting to recognise you as, yes okay, you are in charge for this hour and they would settle down, so the majority, in fact if not all of them would take on board what we were saying to them, especially when we were doing things like internet safety with a video, you know we would show them it and that would just sort of set the scene and you would have their almost undivided attention.

I think you can that you did have their undivided attention, sometimes people are uncomfortable to say I did something, I did that really well, but your class teachers were in the room with you when you were delivering your sessions and we asked them for an evaluation of how you did, and they all said that the pupil engagement was really high, and that was really positive coming from class teachers.

IW So were you two personally, Stephanie and Charlotte, have you felt you have gained some skills and confidence?

Peer mentors: It just covers so much, you know, right at the start, because it is part of the Peer Ed achievement, we have to set the personal goals that we want to have achieved by the end of the project, and you know it can be such simple things like you want to work on your timekeeping, you know if you say you are going to be there at a certain time, you will be there 5 minutes before, and maybe at the start of the year you are turning up to your sessions just as the bell is going and you are rushing about to set up, but guaranteed by the 4th, 5th session you are there 15 minutes before making sure your lesson is going to run on time.

I always remember though, I never took Peer Ed at the beginning of the year, I was planning on doing Art as my vocational period and then it was one of the youth workers that asked me if I would do it, and folk were always saying, oh, it’s a lot of work, you will struggle, it’s a lot of work, it is a lot of work but you get something that’s the equivalent of an advanced higher out of it, so it’s there to help you for your CV and application forms to Uni and all that, so it helps you in everything.

PR I think one of the interesting points is the (… unclear) challenge one and the peer mentors set their own person targets and perhaps they said you wanted to become better leaders or they all said they wanted their confidence improved, it was very skills focused, and that really helps when it comes to interviews and CV’s, and you are all moving onto further education, higher education and you’ve kind of got that skills language, you know what your strengths are, you know what the skills are you developed over the year and I think you will get a head start when it comes to interviews.

But also for every bit of training that you do, there’s an immediate reward, you know we had sessions focused on confidence and resilience, but even when you are doing your lesson planning, yes straight away you are getting the, well okay now I can plan a lesson, but you might find that in the future if you look back, well actually that helped make me more confident as well, because now I can live with this and I have done that myself and I know that that piece of work was good enough and I don’t need to ask anybody else.

IW I think some people often say that the internet, texting and all the rest of it has dulled down language in the young people and they can’t write sentences, but you said that anybody who is LOL now is considered a bit of a … yes?

Peer mentors: (Laughter) That’s a norm

IW That’s a norm? And that has people development in this, do they start to use full spelling?

Peer mentor: It’s just, it seems to have changed, it changed all of a sudden, like it was like overnight almost. It’s gone from like being, you know you would use your abbreviations like G8 for Great and LOL, but now people … You see it everywhere as well, and sometimes you would find it was affecting school work and that, you would be going to write great and then you are writing it in an abbreviation, because I remember as well my brother was writing out an application form, writing it out in abbreviated words and everything and it just, it takes over, but now because it’s starting to come back to using proper words, it just works, but it is, like on Twitter, because of the character that you are allowed, it’s only 140 characters, so … You would tend to see more ones like ‘By The Way’ will be shorted to BTW or things like that, you know phrases will become shortened, just because it’s easier, but certainly your words, you will tend to find that when …

Suddenly 13 upwards, young people are using proper sentences more than your abbreviations, because it’s difficult to understand and everybody around them is using proper English, so they tend to follow suit. I would say rather than like the way people spell their words, I think it’s more the language people are starting to use - it’s more kind of swear words and stuff like that, people will use, that kind of thing that’s starting to take a hit on things, so it’s not really every (… unclear) or anything like that.

MD Michelle Drumm from Iriss spoke to Katrina Laing, Principal Teacher of Guidance at Perth High School, about her background in the Cyber Mentors Programme, which provides young people who are facing bullying or other wellbeing issues with real time access to a supportive network of peer mentors.

KL My background is as a teacher, I was a primary teacher initially for 14 or 15 years and then I moved into working with young people who had additional support needs, and then from there I became a Guidance Teacher, so I am a Principal teacher of Guidance in Perth High School, but at the moment I had been out for about 18 months working for Perth and Kinross Council in a development role around about internet safety and working … to take forward authorities agenda as regards that area, but also a bit wider around about supporting schools with addressing issues around about the sexualisation of children and young people.

Cyber Mentors is a programme that’s run by Beat Bullying, which is a UK charity and basically it’s … the Cyber Mentors are peer mentors for other young people who are experiencing bullying, and so we train young people as Cyber Mentors, they receive 2 days of training from Beat Bullying and then they become online and offline mentors to other young people who are experiencing difficulties. Now that might be young people in their own school or it could be that they mentor online, young people from across the whole of the UK.

MD What are the benefits to the children themselves?

KL The benefits are that they are able to speak to another young person rather than an adult, there’s not an adult … I think often, particularly with teenagers, they don’t like adults imposing, or in their eyes, imposing their views on them, and the Cyber Mentors programme exists in such a way that other young people are there to provide support, advice and strategies to their peers as to how they might best move forward in their particular situation. The mentors are in turn supported in the background by older, senior mentors and also by councillors, so they are not doing this entirely on their own, but they are the front line support for the young people and the young people like that. They also like the fact that it can be anonymous, they don’t need to discuss something with people that they know, it can be somebody who has absolutely no stake in the situation, has absolutely no concern about one side of the argument or the other and who can actually give impartial advice and guidance as to how that young person might improve their situation.

MD What are the findings around it in terms of how it impacts?

KL The findings are that … in the schools, there are huge numbers, over 10,000 mentors in the UK, in Scotland at the moment it’s very limited, we were the first authority to take this forward, but the benefits that have been found in other areas of the UK are that there has been a significant decrease in incidents, reported incidents of bullying, there has been an increase in the self esteem, the confidence, the relationships between other young people. Young people that use the site are reporting that they feel that they have gained a huge amount from it and it did help to improve their situation, so it not only helps to improve relationships in the wider sense within the school, it also helps to take forward young people who are in a difficult situation as well.

MD And is there a plan to roll it out across Scotland?

KL There’s certainly … within our local authority there’s a plan to roll it out within our secondary schools and the hope is that across Scotland it can be moved forward from there. It’s very early days and so we are looking at how it can be spread out from our locality.

MD An interesting initiative, the E Safety Partnership Roadshow, held a workshop in the grounds of the college. Stuart Kerr, Community Planning Officer with Central Scotland Police, and Fiona, a secondary schools liaison officer told us about the partnership. Their O2 guru also has a few words about his role in the programme.

SK The E Safety Partnership, it’s been running for probably about 18 months now, it started off as part of a … well on the back of several investigations in Central Scotland Police, which were initially … one of them was initially to do with a missing child, which the investigation led to some online grooming and eventually led to about 16 offenders being traced, and we did a report on the back of that, and it was identified from that that parents in particular, don’t have much of an idea sometimes of what their children are up to online and how to keep them safe online. So the E Safety Partnership, which gives us, the Police and Child Protection Officers, Rape Crisis, other Youth Services and there’s people from the computer industry and the mobile phone industry working along with us to try and deliver information to, not just young people but to all sorts of vulnerable, to adults, to try and keep them safe online, to make sure that they are empowered to set up their, or have their settings on their computers to stop spam coming in for the kids to stop them looking at inappropriate websites, to make sure that children in particular know what a friend is, in particular when they are using social networking and not just accept friends for the sake of having a high number of friends, particularly Facebook, because one of the ones with the counters at the side of the friends list, what we would prefer them to do is not just look at their numbers, but look at the quality of their friends. It’s very much a similar sort of thing to what we used to teach the very young children about stranger danger, moving it onto the internet and to online activities, and to make sure that they are all aware that not everybody out there is who they say they are.

It would probably be safer in saying that very few people out there, on the internet, are who they say they are. There’s usually a wee white lie somewhere along the line, making themselves out to be maybe something they are not. The one thing was, a meeting I was at not that long ago where somebody said the internet is a place, not a thing, and that really is a good line to use, because how long ago, 5, 6 years ago, the difference between the virtual world and the real world, there was a bit of separation in that, but now that line of separation is very narrow … when the kids, when anybody is going online now, it’s not we are on the computer, we are actually part of … an extension of your own world and it’s particularly true of social networking.

To be honest we don’t take it to schools, usually what we do at schools is we work indoors with them in classes or bigger groups, in day groups, but we are delivering the same message. The purpose of the mobile units is it’s a mobile awareness and we will take it to the Highland Games and Fetes and we had the Army day last year at Stirling, we did it along there, and various Highland Games we have been to … we set it up and just invite people to come along and drop in, we have usually got the same packs as we have given today with a magazine and some information about what we are all about and there’s a point of contact for people to get in touch with us if they have issues with the internet. It particularly raises the parents awareness because the experience we have had of giving or delivering talks to parents is that they get a bit of an eye opener about some of the things we are talking about, so it does empower them to have that knowledge of what’s going on out there … and we are engaged now with the Scouts and Guides and other youth groups like that, so we will continue with that and working … getting out to as many people as we can.

MD Fiona, would you like to say anything about this initiative?

Fiona: I think at the end of the day what we are trying to do is empower adults to know that there is something and there is places that they can go out there that are reliable … you know, it’s not a case of go home now and chuck out PC’s and throw away your phone, there is stuff we can do protect ourselves and to protect young people.

The real challenges actually to be honest are the adults, young people take on board, young people do take on board what you say and there is a realisation with young people that potentially they don’t know everything, but with adults, admitting that we don’t know everything and actually admitting to our young people that we don’t know everything about technology is the difficult part.

Adults don’t want to be embarrassed into other people seeing that they don’t know everything about everything kind of thing, so it’s getting adults to realise, do you know what, none of us know everything. Our partnership, none of us know everything, maybe apart from our guru that works with us, but he’s got access to information, we are not technical wizards, the big part is it’s not about dealing with the technology, it’s about dealing with behaviours, and that’s the bare basics of it. I tend to, as part of my role, I am actually a secondary schools liaison officer, so the big part of it for me is going into secondary schools, but it has actually gradually propagated into primary schools as well, and trying to get parents … particularly from a prevention point of view, is going into primary schools and getting parents onboard, getting teaching staff onboard as well. We have done awareness sessions for teaching staff as well and promoting the ‘Think You Know’ website as well and the ‘Think You Know’ training courses, to get the message out there, because at the end of the day, the more people that are involved the better.

As part of our organisation we have various groups that volunteer with us and they assist with us and Social Services is one in particular as well, at the end of the day we are dealing with young people, we are dealing with vulnerable people in the community as well and they have the access to these individuals, these are the people that are working with individuals and individual groups if you like, where there are concerns and where there is work that can be done.

MD Martin, would you like to just tell me about your role in this internet safety initiative?

Martin: Yes, well my role … I work for O2, I am an O2 guru, so I have been brought in to give more technical backup, so when it comes to mobiles, tablets, mobile devices, us gurus are there to provide information, advice for O2 customers and non O2 customers, so anybody can come in and speak to us and have a chat … but I am there for the more sort of technical side of things, rather than moral side of things.

MD So do you head out on this bus here?

Martin: We do yes, I am based in a store, but I come out and go around with the guys when they have got events like this on, we are not out on the buses constantly, the bus actually belongs to Southern Council Youth Services, so they go around a lot of youth groups, that kind of stuff … but we have been sort of hitting schools quite a lot recently and parents evenings, that kind of stuff, just giving out information. I mean it’s not just kids that are at risk online, adults are just as much at risk as what the children are, but the adults have the common sense to make the decisions themselves, whereas the kids might need that little bit of a prompt to do that, but the risks are exactly the same no matter what age you are. On tablets, all tablets, phones, mobile devices have all got parental controls on them, so you can lock them down, you can track them as well, so if you lose your device or if you want to find out where your child is, you can actually do that on the mobile device.

You can set safe zones on them, so for example if a child goes outwith its boundaries, the phone will actually alert you that that child went outwith where it’s not meant to go, you can then phone them and find out what’s happening, that kind of thing. So there are loads of different things we can do to help. Technology is a great thing, so you have got to use it.

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