Police issue online safety advice after schoolboy takes own life

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Police are urging young people to be careful about what they share online after a 17-year-old schoolboy took his own life because of images he was tricked into posting on a social networking site.

Ronan Hughes, who died tragically on Friday, is to be laid to rest at St Patrick’s Church in Clonoe tomorrow.

Mid-Ulster District police commander Superintendent Mike Baird said: “Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a 17-year-old schoolboy in the Coole Road area of Coalisland on Friday 5 June.

“Our enquiries into this tragedy are continuing, however, it is understood the schoolboy took his own life after he had been tricked into posting images on a social networking site.”

The PSNI has also asked anyone who has experienced a similar request online, to come forward, adding that “you will not get into trouble”.

“Police are continuing to liaise with a number of statutory bodies and community representatives,” a spokesperson added.

“Officers have spoken to pupils at a school in the area and offered advice regarding safe internet use and any type of virtual interaction including social media sites, chatrooms and through interactive games.

“If anyone has experienced anything of a similar nature or has received any inappropriate images or links, it is important that they contact Police or tell a trusted adult. By doing this you will be helping prevent further such incidents. You will not get into trouble.

“We all deserve to be able to use the internet to learn, explore and connect with each other.

“But all of us need to be aware of the risks involved in doing so, especially on social media.”

Police internet safety advice:

• Don’t share personal information or images with people you don’t know

• Don’t accept friend requests with someone you don’t know

• Set your privacy settings on all devices

• Don’t post anything online that you are not happy to be shared

• If someone has made you feel uncomfortable or you have had disturbing interaction online, tell someone you trust