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New scheme aims to make Wirral youngsters aware of online dangers
A SCHEME which aims to make Wirral youngsters aware of the dangers of sharing images and content online has been launched this week.
The council's response and youth offending service has teamed up with sexual health organisation Brook to highlight the dangers of taking and distributing images of a sexual nature via mobile phones and the internet.
The initiative is part of an ongoing programme of interactive events delivered in 'BiteSize' packages which deliver workshops to secondary schools and colleges.
The issue is particularly relevant at the moment with recent news stories highlighting concerns about young people distributing – sometimes unknowingly – potentially damaging photographs of themselves or each other in a sexual suggestive manner.
Cllr Tony Smith, Wirral's cabinet member for children's services and lifelong learning, said: "What is not widely appreciated is that - depending on the nature of the images - the young people themselves can be arrested and prosecuted for taking and distributing images of themselves and their friends.
"These charges can stay on the young person's records for life, with disastrous consequences.
"These workshops are designed to highlight the potential dangers and give the young people vital information to help them keep within the law and to safeguard themselves and others."
'Bite Size' events are run throughout the year using a multi agency approach.
Working with around 100 young people at a time, young people work in groups rotating around a number of themed learning zones on alcohol use, drug awareness and internet safety. The event works in partnership with schools.
Dean Cattell, Brook education worker, said: "The 'BiteSize' Brook initiative has proven to be very successful and reaffirms the value of adopting a multi-agency approach to address such important issues.
"Working in partnership with Response and the Youth Offending services has enabled us to provide a holistic approach to raising young people's awareness, supporting them to make positive and healthy choices.
"The BiteSize programme also connects young people to additional services where they can get further support if they feel they need it."