A NEW pilot scheme in North Yorkshire will help parents understand the online dangers faced by children.

The NSPCC will train North Yorkshire Police officers to deliver free workshops to parents in schools, communities and workplaces around the region, in the first partnership of its kind in the country.

During the hour-long workshop, parents learn about what children might do online, identify some of the risks children face and discuss the ways to respond, and learn practical tools to help start regular conversations at home.

Detective Inspector Karen Warner has spent two decades dealing with cases of rape, violence, domestic abuse, and now child sexual exploitation (CSE), and said the new initiative was a vital tool in tackling online abuse.

She said: "It's all about internet safety and empowering parents to be aware of what is out there, what some of those sites have on them, and what some abbreviations mean, and giving parents of young children these skills."

Although similar workshops have been run around the country since June last year, this is the first time the NSPCC has worked directly with a police force to help lead them.

The charity also runs Speak Out Stay Safe workshops to help children understand online dangers, but Melissa Holland, NSPCC schools service manager for the north, said the pilot scheme aims to help families talk about their online activity, and can inform parents about issues they may not otherwise have been aware of.

She said: "The workshops are just for parents to make sure they are not scared of having these conversations and funding out more about apps and getting phones set up with the right privacy settings. I think a lot of parents would really like the workshop, but we don't have the capacity to give it to everyone.

"With North Yorkshire, we're hoping that we'll cover about 70 schools over the next year. It's quite a small proportion at this point, but we're hopeful once the pilot is evaluated we might get more resources to be able to offer it in every school we deliver Speak Out Stay Safe to - that was 1,600 across the north last year."

Anyone concerned about the internet usage or safety of a child should phone the NSPCC Online Safety Helpline on 0808 800 5002.