PARENTS are being urged to learn how to spot the signs of online grooming.

Today forces across the country will show their support for Safer Internet Day, a national campaign to raise awareness of the potential dangers online.

Parents are being encouraged to talk to their children, keep track of what they are accessing online and who they may be talking to.

Supt Kevin Bennett, of Cheshire Police, said: “Online safety is really important and I would encourage parents to think about what their children do online.

“The internet is a really valuable tool and can help many people in many ways but there is a darker side and it can potentially be a dangerous place.

“The force recommends that parents put the computer in a visible place in the home and monitor what websites your child visits.

They also recommend setting up guidelines and limits for internet usage and installing internet filtering software showing a Child Safety Online Kitemark, on your computer.

Parents should also explain to your children why it is important for them never to give out personal details or post pictures of themselves publicly.

Supt Bennett said: "As a force we regularly go into schools to speak directly to children about the dangers and the darker side of using the internet.

“It is therefore imperative parents are also aware of these dangers and the sites their children are accessing as well as who they are communicating with.”

David Keane, Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said national campaigns such as Safer Internet Day are a 'great chance' to highlight potential dangers and provide support.

He said: “Working with young people throughout our communities to raise their awareness of how to be safe online, alongside providing advice and guidance to parents and carers is essential.

"Working together, we can help to protect young people in our communities and prevent them from putting themselves at risk when they use the internet.”

Anyone with any concerns about online grooming is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101