Message from South Yorkshire Police - September 2023
As a Primary school in our force area we would like to take this opportunity to contact you to raise concerns we have around inappropriate internet use by children starting with children as young as four.
With younger children the content these children are sharing tends to be on parents/carers accounts, who are completely unaware that this has happened until their account is locked, or they have a knock on the door from the Police.
Below are the statistics from our Force to illustrate the increase in this type of referral:
Last year 11 % of our referrals were for safeguarding concerns such as self-generated image uploads, sextortion and sexualised chat between a child and an adult. This year we have seen a huge increase in safeguarding referrals with 26% having been received in the first half of this year (Jan - Jun).
We're not entirely sure why there has been such a jump, but we suspect it is mainly due to online companies improving their safeguarding abilities in readiness for the internet safety bill so is likely to continue unless we can give education/ prevention advice to schools, parents and children.
There also appears to be a change in the gender of the children uploading, previously it was predominantly females now there is a pretty even split between the genders overall.
The largest age group for referrals were those aged between 4-7 and 63% of all of the safeguarding referrals were for children who were of primary school age.
Total % of referrals for age group
4 to 7
8 to 11
12 to 15
Total % for gender
Please note the information in this email concerns behaviour of children much younger than we speak to and the information contained in this email is for Parents/Carers of all children to be aware of and act on, if required.
Over the years we have tried various ways of trying to speak to parents/carers of school children, none of which have been successful in managing to speak to them in large numbers, hence this email. Please can you share the above information with all the parents/carers/staff within your school.
Please see links below for websites where up to date information can be obtained about internet issues, in-depth details around apps, platforms, etc that children may be using and also guides how to set up accounts safely.