FIGHTING cyber bullying now accounts for half the workload of one officer within the Chifley local area command.
And parents have been urged to take a greater interest in their teenagers' online activity to combat the rise in cyber crime.
Chifley LAC youth liaison officer Constable Matt Holden now spends about half his time educating school-aged students about protecting themselves against Facebook trolls and making good decisions online.
He is especially worried about young people “sexting” each other or sending nude photographs.
“I tell the students to use their brains, what happens if you break up with this person?” Constable Holden said.
“That picture can be half way round Bathurst in a matter of minutes and it can’t be taken back.”
Constable Holden said parents had an important role to play in protecting their children.
First and foremost, he said no child under 13 years should have a Facebook account.
And once children opened an account, he advised parents to keep a close eye on all internet activity involving their kids.
“Make sure you have full access to the page, know the password and monitor their use of it,” he said. “Cyber bullying is a big thing, but people can protect themselves.
“When I’m talking to students about it I tell them to treat people the way you expect to be treated, and don’t give the bullies what they want.
“If someone writes something bad don’t respond.
“Better still, keep off Facebook for a while or block them all together. The people who write this rubbish want you to react.
“When you don’t reply they don’t get the reaction they want and they soon move on.
“If you’re having trouble with someone I tell the kids to block them and don’t respond. Don’t feed the trolls.”
Constable Holden also works with kids and parents about the dangers of online predators.
“Bathurst is a safe place and I guess in a way we live sheltered lives,” he said.
“But once you’re on internet you are literally letting people from all over the world into your living room.”
In a recent training session, Constable Holden said police were shown how easy it is to hack into a Facebook account.
“Within a matter of minutes we had access to all types of information about an officer: Their name, who they were married to, where they worked, where they lived, birth date, who their children were and what school they went to. It’s very frightening,” he said.
“I’m not here trying to scare people but rather to make them think.
“Criminals use this information to commit crimes and people need to protect themselves.”