Summer safety suggestions for parents, guardians and carers from Inspector Louise Costin, Devon and Cornwall Police.
Chances are this summer holiday your child is going to be pretty social and will be spending time with their friends so we recommend agreeing some boundaries together about keeping track of time. There’s not much worse than not knowing where your child is or if they’re safe, so if they’re going out agree together that they will let you know where they’re going, who they’re going to be with and what time they will be home. If your child has a mobile phone, ask them to keep in touch with you especially if they’re going to be late home for any reason. You might also want to share contact details with the parents and guardians of your child’s friends, that way you can always be contacted if you need to be and you can contact them if you’re worried for any reason.
This summer holiday your child might be spending more time than usual online, which might include gaming and social networking. If your child has a games console or is playing games online using a computer we recommend you check out the PEGI website. PEGI labels are used on games to show the type of content a game might contain. The labels also provide age ratings which can help you make sure that the game your child is playing is appropriate.
Certain games will feature adult content such as bad language, sex, violence and drugs and will not be suitable for children.
You can find out what the labels mean on the PEGI website.
Many gaming devices enable children and young people to play online against people they know, and people they don’t know. As well as playing games people can also often speak with each other through instant messaging or live chat using a microphone and headphones. Although gaming can be great fun, it’s important to find a balance between having a good time and staying safe. Check out our gaming page for more.
The internet can be a great resource and fantastic fun. Although being ‘online’ doesn’t look the same as the physical environment, the internet is an environment which has its own risks. On our website we have information for parents, guardians and carers on issues including cyber bullying, social networking, sexting and parental controls.
For general advice about protecting you and your family online check out the Get Safe Online website.
The summer break should be a great experience but for anyone being bullied, it might not be. If you’re worried that your child is being bullied check out the NSPCC website where you can find advice for parents, guardians and carers . The website has some really practical suggestions about what you can do to support your child.
If you think your child is being bullied online, visit our cyber bullying page.
‘Legal Highs’ are substances which can produce similar effects to illegal drugs. They can’t be sold for human consumption so are often sold as other things like plant food. The term ‘Legal High’ is in itself confusing as many people think that if something is legal, it’s safe. Legal Highs are NOT safe as it’s difficult to know what exactly is contained in the substance, or what effect it will have on someone.
To find out more about ‘Legal Highs’ visit the Talk to Frank website.
In a society where alcohol is readily available and consumed by adults, talking about alcohol use with children and young people can be challenging. This summer your child may want, or feel pressured, to drink alcohol. There are laws relating to alcohol and young people and these exist to protect them from harm. Information and advice for parents can be found on the NHS Choices.
It’s important for young people to understand what a healthy relationship is, to have access to good quality information and advice to help them make their own informed and safe decisions, and to know that they can talk to someone if they’re worried about something.
The Sexwize website is designed for young people under the age of 25 and is a good source of advice and information about local services. Another good website is The Site, which has information for young people age 16-25 about a whole range of issues including relationships, mental health, work and study and crime and safety.
If you think someone is pressuring a child to do something sexual, please contact Devon and Cornwall Police on telephone 101 (non emergency number) and ask to speak with your local Police Community Support Officer. If you think your child is at risk of immediate harm you can contact the police in an emergency on telephone 999.
If you are worried that someone is trying to talk to your child in a sexual way online, or encouraging them to meet up when your child has only met them online, please report to CEOP and Devon and Cornwall Police.