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Have you sorted your settings yet?

We are teaming up with Essex Police on their successful ‘Sort Your Settings’ campaign. The campaign provides support and information for anyone wanting to make online devices safer for their children.

Following the previous success of the crime prevention initiative, the campaign will get a further boost this year as a result of working with more than 20 retail stores this festive season.

Roger Hirst, PFCC for Essex and Chair of the Violence and Vulnerability Partnership said: “This is a fantastic initiative. The electronic, online world changes so quickly that it is hard to keep up with new technology. Sort Your Settings makes it easy for parents to ensure games consoles and smart phones are set up safely and securely with simple step by step instructions, making it easier to keep children safe online.”

The webpage has been expanded to include information about new and popular online games and social media platforms with advice on all aspects of online safety, including how to access parental controls as well as information about social media age restrictions, game age ratings, chat settings and more.

We have also teamed up with retailers who will be able to offer advice, through an information card, to shoppers in the run up to Christmas.

Andy Jepson, Store Manager of Smyths Toys in Chelmsford, said: “We’re delighted to take part in raising awareness of the ‘Sort Your Settings’ campaign. It’s something that even I had not considered prior to this information being shared.

“Online safety is a big concern, and you just don’t know who your children are talking to when gaming so being able to put settings in place to protect against this is priceless. Colleagues and I, across our busy branch are totally on board with the project to help inform parents, protect children and vulnerable adults.

“It’s been a real hit with our customers. They are fascinated by the ‘Sort Your Settings’ support card when provided at the point of sale asking questions and prompting discussion.”

As part of the campaign Essex Police Business Crime Team are also working with local businesses.

PC Glen Foote said: “Our aim is to provide parents and carers with the knowledge they might need to make an informed decision on whether a game is appropriate for their child.

“We are really pleased with the support we have received from local branches of Game, Smyths, Currys, Argos and CEX so far.

“Their cashiers will hand out a small card to anyone buying a games console, smart device or game in the coming weeks. The card has a QR code, which when scanned, will take you directly to our ‘Sort Your Settings’ webpage.

“We are continuing to speak to other businesses who might like to get involved. Helping safeguard children online is not as easy task, the more informed people are the more we can do to help protect them.”

CEX Chelmsford is another store that is supporting the campaign. Reece Redwood-Smith, the Store Manager said: “Being able to provide our customers with additional expert led advice is great to be a part of. It was an easy decision for us to make in CEX Chelmsford when approached to support the campaign.

“The team and I can see the benefits of protecting vulnerable people and more broadly taking a few simple steps as a matter of course when using electronic devices to protect against misuse, abuse or criminal acts.

“We all need to review our settings from time to time and be reminded of their importance.”

For more information about loot boxes, chat functions and how to make your child safer online visit Sort Your Settings