PARENTS and carers are being urged to attend a free cyber-crime workshop to protect their children from avoid bullies, abusers, hackers, strangers and viruses online.

The campaign is being launched in Stretford Mall with pop up workshops by gurus from O2, in conjunction with the NSPCC.

Experts will be on hand in the shopping centre’s main event space to pass on latest tips on how to protect children and answer questions about everything from how to safely play games online, to being “share aware” on social media.

James Mann, store manager at O2 in Stretford Mall is a father himself.

He said: “Educating parents and carers is vital, given that 90 per cent of children aged five to 15 are actively online with 40 per cent owning their own tablet or iPad.

“Having had them as gifts for Christmas this is now the peak time to provide parents with the advice they need to keep them safe.

“This is the time when it really matters. It’s important that as parents and adults we take responsibility for making sure children do not find anything inappropriate online.

“A lot of parents don’t know how easy it can be for children to access inappropriate material.

“Take YouTube for instance. If you leave them on it they can access all sorts within five or ten minutes.”

The aim is to run the on-line safety sessions quarterly as part of a new programme of monthly events being run by O2 at Stretford Mall.

Future dates will also be announced for sessions demonstrating new apps, as well as advice for the older generation and people with disabilities.

Stretford Mall centre manager Gareth Wilkins said: “We’re delighted to lend our support to this important and worthwhile initiative.

“I’m sure the workshop will be a success and we are looking forward to O2 hosting more events throughout the year.”

O2 work with the NSPCC to help protect children from dangers they could face browsing online or through the use of social media.

The NSPCC has developed an initiative called ‘Share Aware’ to help parents and carers make informed choices about the social networking sites and apps their children use.

Anyone is welcome to attend the first pop-up on-line safety workshop at Stretford Mall, from 10am – 4pm on Saturday, February 10.