Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are urging parents and teachers to speak to young people about staying safe when using the recently launched Pokemon Go app.
The app allows people to set up a ‘beacon’ which can then encourage other users to reach a specific venue, and police are concerned it could be the latest way online criminals attempt to target victims.
Detective Superintendent Joanne Rawlinson, from GMP’s public protection division, said:
“We know that criminals move quickly to exploit the latest developments to target victims, and Pokemon Go will already be in their sights. There have already been incidents in America where young people are thought to have been targeted through the app.
“I would urge parents to speak to their children about the app and the best ways to make sure they stay safe. Talking to your child is one of the best ways to keep them safe.
“Online child sexual abuse and grooming is a rapidly growing problem, and as part of Project Phoenix we continue to work with other partner agencies to raise awareness of the issues and provide advice and guidance on Internet safety, how to stay safe, spot the signs and how to report offences.
Young people, parents, teachers and others need to know what to look for so they can raise concerns.
“I ask parents to speak to their children about the sites they visit online, who they talk to and most importantly what to do if they see inappropriate content or are approached by someone that worries them.
Advise your child to tell someone they trust and stress they won’t be in trouble. Explain to your child that friends are people that they know in ‘real life’ not someone they don’t know online”.