Stay safe online with a mobile phone app developed by students with Cambridgeshire Police

December 2, 2019

Students from Cambridge Regional College are helping people stay safe online in a team work project with Cambridgeshire Police.

The team have designed a cyber safe advice tool that is set to become a mobile phone app.

It gives step by step guides to staying safe on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

It is hoped the pioneering initiative will be rolled out to police forces across the UK.

Five students on the Higher National Certificate in Policing course have worked closely with the county’s force to come up with a range of strategies to make surfing safer. The students involved are Carmen Jolly, 19, of Cambridge, Jasmine Ellis, 19, of Bishops Stortford, Harriet Smith, 20, of Cambridge, James Guiver, 18 of Bishops Stortford and Joe Dockerill, 19, of Soham.

Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Brunning said: “Young people were a key target audience for this project, so it made sense to appoint a group of local students to develop the app.

“The students live in the world of social media and were highly experienced at using the top four platforms we wanted to focus on. They investigated how we could educate and support users successfully and limit the risks associated with online activity.

“As a result of their hard work the Protech app has been launched and I’m delighted with the outcome. It is free, easy to use and has already being utilised by various schools and community groups in the county. I’m hopeful it will eventually be embraced on a national level and continue to develop to ensure our online communities stay safe.”

Russ Power, course leader, said: “It began as a project to make social media safer, but has turned into a trail blazing project for Cambridgeshire Police.

“There are all sorts of advice tips like turning location off, checking privacy of photographs and putting social media into ghost mode.

“It is also looking at prevention of terrorism and raising awareness in general of looking after your personal information.”

Mark Robertson, Principal of CRC, said: “I am really delighted that our fantastic Uniformed Public Services students have been able to work with Cambridgeshire Police to create and share materials to promote the importance of cyber safety. Our students will be sharing the messages around CRC, and with schools across the region, helping people to stay safe whilst enjoying the internet and social media.

“Five students on the Higher National Certificate in Policing course have worked closely with the county’s force to come up with a range of strategies to make surfing safer.”
Carmen Jolly said: “We conducted a Survey and were shocked at what we found. Children as young as eight on social media sites yet they will be naive and won’t understand the dangers. They won’t understand that a stranger may wish to cause harm.”

Harriet Smith said: “We found that even if you think you have privacy settings to high sometimes strangers can still see all of your photographs as the social media sites change how you change settings all the time. It is difficult but also very important to keep on top of privacy.”

James said: “The survey shocked me on how many people are targeted by bullying. There needs to be advice on how to deal with that.”

Carmen added: “The survey showed that most people look at their phone as soon as they wake up and the last thing at night so if they are suffering bullying that just increases the agony of it.”

Helping develop the app is 3B Data Security of Cambridge.