PARENTS are being urged to chat with their children about online safety.

A new campaign is encouraging mums and dads to spend just five minutes discussing the subject with youngsters.

The message is part of a Your Child initiative, launched by West Yorkshire Police in support of Safer Internet Day.

Among those backing the venture are the NSPCC, Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership and the office of West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson.

The county’s Assistant Chief Constable, Catherine Hankinson, said it was vital to get the safety message across to young people.

“We support Safer Internet Day every year and it is a great opportunity to launch this important new campaign,” she added.

“It would be great if parents and guardians could have a discussion with their children about online activity in support of the campaign, as it could help them to remain safe.

“A five-minute chat could make a real difference.

“We know that online dangers include people suggesting they are someone who they are not, trying to befriend young people and then asking them to share images of themselves or meet up in real life.

“Children should tell their parents if someone they don’t know does try to talk to or befriend them online. It’s so important to talk and encourage that approach.

“Every parent or guardian would want their children to enjoy the benefits that online activity can hold, so the campaign is just to encourage those discussions that could assist in protecting young people while they use the internet in a positive manner.”

She said the force had produced a special animation to help promote the message and would be regularly updating its social media accounts.

“A Minute on a Monday video has also been produced by the force and NSPCC and as part of the campaign the charity will be delivering some training sessions for staff and officers,” she added.

Helen Westerman, the NSPCC’s campaigns manager, said the messaging behind Your Child was simple but could play a key role in protecting children online.

She added: “The key for parents is to talk openly and regularly and be positive, but also be open about any concerns so that your child has the confidence to talk to you or a trusted adult if they come across something that is unsettling or not age appropriate.”

Phil Coneron, of the safeguarding partnership, said: “Through the Your Child campaign we hope to encourage parents and carers to take an interest in their child’s online activity and who are they speaking to.

“A regular five-minute chat would give your child the opportunity to talk to you, should anything upset them that they see or hear online.”