Beware the dangers lurking on the internet

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I’m sure a lot of you will be aware of the current Pokémon Go craze that is being widely reported in the media, not least in the Advertiser with its article last month.

It is obviously the app of the moment and enjoyed by millions throughout the world. However, even an apparently harmless and fun game can lead users into situations, which can cause themselves harm. I am aware of three incidents over the last month where police have become involved as a direct result of the Pokémon app.

In East Lothian, a 12-year-old boy was struck crossing a road by a car as he played the game and luckily only suffered very minor injuries.

In Midlothian, two people were stopped by my officers after they were seen climbing a fence into a building site and another broke his collarbone as he searched for a Pokémon gym in Dalkeith Country Park late at night.

These incidents highlight that the virtual world can have potentially dangerous consequences if it is not used appropriately and with caution.

The internet is an incredible resource which, if used correctly, can open up a whole new world for you and your children. However, just like real life, it needs to be used with a sense of caution as it is not without its dangers.

With so much of our daily routine now online – banking, shopping, social networking to name but a few – criminals are increasingly going online to exploit people in various ways.

As such, I would emphasise the need to think about online security and ask you to think about what you, and your children, post on the internet. Limit the amount of personal information posted and mark profiles as private so as to limit who can access the details.

Also be aware of emails or contacts you receive, these can be from hacked or fake accounts and are designed to entice you to divulge confidential information.

Detailed advice on online security can be found on the Police Service of Scotland website.

Another area of concern for police in Midlothian is an emerging problem at Newbattle Golf Club where golfers are being targeted for abuse and violence by youths.

It is not acceptable to me that people are being stopped from playing and are being intimidated by this antisocial behaviour.

I would therefore ask if anyone has any information to identify those responsible to phone police using the 101 system and I would encourage any golfers to report issues direct or to the club who will pass them on to us.