“Don’t unplug your common sense this Christmas,” warns Nottinghamshire PCC

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Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping hasw called on parents o heed personal safety advice this Christmas to stay safe online.

As children unwrap the latest ‘must-have’ technology this Christmas, the PCC is urging parents to do their own research to protect their offspring from cyber criminals and activate safety settings to block unsuitable content.

They should also take their own internet security just as seriously as their children’s, he added.

“As many adults will be opening new iPads, smartphones, computers and laptops this Christmas as children and we all need to equip ourselves with a robust security system,” said Mr Tipping.

“I want people to have a fabulous Christmas enjoying their gifts, but I urge them to stay safe online.”

The PCC is keen to highlight the “invisible threat” that lurks online, particularly in relation to children and young people who are exposed to risks of Child Sexual Exploitation and “sexting” while online - the term used to describe a situation in which an individual sends or shares an indecent image of themselves or another to a third party either using their mobile phone, tablet or other social media platform.

“There’s no doubt the internet has revolutionised our lives and for that we can be grateful, but it also exposes us to the threat of crime, allowing offenders to hide their identity behind a mask of innocence to conceal their fraudulent or predatory intentions,” added Mr Tipping.

“We can never eliminate the risks entirely but arming ourselves with knowledge and highlighting the dangers to our families and children can help us to stay safe. A little knowledge can go a long way.”

New internet devices can be more susceptible to attack if security software and updates have not been downloaded.

It’s always advisable to read the instruction manuals and guidance. It might be necessary to buy additional security programmes if these are not included in your package.

Top Safety Tips:

Perform a cyber health check - Ensure the latest versions of software are downloaded and installed, update Antivirus regularly and keep ‘Firewall’ switched on

Always use strong, unique passwords for every website you visit and change them regularly. It is advisable to install a password manager to maintain this for you.

Never reveal personal and financial information online as it could be used to commit scams and online fraud.

Use the privacy and security settings on social media sites to ensure only friends and family can see your pages. Even if your account is locked as private, information you have shared could be accessed through one of your contacts’ pages.

Never post personal information such as your address or phone number online.

Set your new smartphone to lock after a short time and ensure it requires an authentication cade for unlocking.

Don’t click on links in emails and texts, even if they appear to come from a bank or other institution. If you think the message is valid, log into your account directly without using any external links.