Monday 23 October 2017

Parents warned about strangers on Facebook

Georgina O'Halloran and Tom Brady

Parents have been warned to pay more attention to the contents of their children's Facebook pages.

The advice was given as gardai launched an investigation into complaints that three teenage girls had been contacted by a man on Facebook.

The man told the girls individually that he wanted to meet them in person.

Gardai said last night that they were keeping an open mind on the identity of the man at this early stage of their inquiries and were following a number of lines of inquiry.

The investigation was initiated by senior officers after two of the girls, accompanied by their mothers, lodged formal complaints at Youghal station in Co Cork on inappropriate approaches being made to them through Facebook.

The third girl made a separate complaint to the gardai.

Last night, the National Parents Council called on the Department of Education to introduce a module on social media as part of the new Junior Certificate.

Spokeswoman Jackie Callaghan said the case highlighted the need for parents to be more vigilant.

"It's important parents are aware of other people accessing information on their children's Facebook page and abusing it," said Ms Callaghan.

"(Younger students) don't realise that the information they put up could be used against them."

Services manager with the ISPCC in Cork, Tess Noonan, said it was important for parents to set boundaries and recommended that the computer be kept in a communal room at home.

"A survey of 18,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 found that around 2,000 had met up with someone that they had met online. A majority of the 2,000 had a computer in their bedroom," she said.

Irish Independent

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