CUMBRIA Police are urging young people to stay safe online, and encouraging parents to take an active interest in their children’s technology.

Officers are warning that an increasing number of children are being exposed to online dangers including cyberbullying, distribution of sensitive information and child sexual exploitation.

Detective Superintendent Andy Slattery said: “Some of the key issues we are  addressing are the importance of privacy settings, the serious impact cyberbullying can have, and how once something is uploaded, or sent via the internet, you have lost control of it forever.

“As well as young people understanding the risks, it is equally important that parents are aware of who their child is communicating with online, and keep up-to-date with the latest technologies.

“It is just as important to protect your child in the ‘online’ world as it is in the ‘real’ world.

"Most parents wouldn’t let their child physically spend the night talking to a complete stranger, but that is exactly what is happening online.”

Mrs Julie Evan, Assistant Principle at Whitehaven Academy, said: “It is important to ensure that students have a knowledge and awareness of the dangers that inappropriate use of the internet can lead to and that they can be victims of cybercrime.

“The internet offers wonderful opportunities to communicate with others but children can be lulled into a false sense of security and can be vulnerable to those who prey on them."