Children lead way with online safety

Bedfordshire Chief Constable congratulates winners of BCS Bedford School Online Safety and Identity Theft Challenge PNL-160407-141647001
Bedfordshire Chief Constable congratulates winners of BCS Bedford School Online Safety and Identity Theft Challenge PNL-160407-141647001

Young computer programmers picked up prizes after demonstrating their digital skill in an online safety and identity theft challenge.

​Students from Almeda Middle, Castle Newnham, Leighton Middle, Mark Rutherford and St Thomas More Catholic schools were presented their awards by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher of Bedfordshire Police at a ceremony at Cranfield University.

The annual Bedford BCS Online Safety and Identity Theft Challenge, organised by the Bedford branch of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, saw more than 200 Year 7 and 8 students take part. Bedford branch chair Dr Ip-Shing Fan said: “The aim of this competition is to help get schoolchildren interested in computer science and encourage them to use computers creatively.

“It’s been fantastic working with local schools and potentially inspiring students to consider careers in the IT profession.”

Chief Constable Boutcher said: “Initiatives like this are absolutely vital to educating young people about computer science and not only the risks, but also the positive benefits, associated with the growing cyber world. At Bedfordshire Police we already work very closely with schools to share knowledge and understanding about the threats posed by cyber-crime so that they can use technology in positive ways, such as those devised by the competition winners. This kind of work could well inspire the police digital investigators of the future.”

Cyber safety advice for young people:

- The more you put online, the more people can find out about you. Make use of privacy settings and don’t give away personal information, such as your age, school, phone number or address.

- Remember that although social networks can be great to share fun content, they can also be used to share nasty things - embarrassing pictures, horrible comments or fake profiles.

- Don’t accept emails, messages or images from people you don’t know – they could be anything including ‘sexts’ or viruses.

- Don’t meet with someone you’ve talked to online – how do you really know they are who they say they are?

- If you’re ever worried about anything that happens on the internet, it’s important you tell a parent, carer, teacher, or another trusted adult straight away.