Action on child internet safety

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 The Scottish Government announces the launch of an action plan and marketing campaign to improve the safety of children on the internet and prevent problems such as cyber bullying, internet fraud and online grooming. The action plan will build on what is already happening in schools and elsewhere to:

  • Create a safer online environment for children, for example by working with games developers in Scotland to raise awareness of the dangers associated with accessing inappropriate material through gaming and working with the industry to identify how best to help parents increase their understanding and use of web-filtering software.
  • Give everyone who cares for or works with children the skills and knowledge to help them stay safe on-line, including providing on-line training and guidance on internet safety for all teachers through GLOW, the Scottish schools’ education platform, and working with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency to identify CPD opportunities for police officers.
  •  Promote more safe and responsible internet use. The radio and press based marketing campaign, alongside a national competition for children, encouraging them to come up with creative ideas for new resources to teach others about safe internet use, will support these efforts.

The competition will encourage young people to help create materials which can be used to help teach others about how to use the internet safety and responsibly. Where possible it should carry the digital code message – Zip It, Block It, Flag It.

The competition will be run in conjunction with Young Scot and Learning and Teaching Scotland. Related publication: Action plan on Internet safety for Children.

Internet safety in the early years

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I was discussing teaching internet safety to 5 year olds with my parents. They are very open-minded and liberal but found it stressful to consider talking about threatening situations with such small children

They agreed that it would be a dereliction of all our duties not to teach our children how to cross the road safely and that we would not necessarily present them with very scarey images of large lorries bearing down on them with lots of blood and gore resulting. In truth, road safety campaigns have generally featured lovable small animals being gently tutored by larger furry animals. Quite how efficacious these images are I don’t know.

But my point is that we can teach primary children – indeed, we must teach them – to understand the dangers of traffic and of using the internet in ways that are appropriate.

 I have found using Jill Murphy’s wonderful book, ‘A Piece of Cake’, a terrific method of encouraging young children to investigate addiction. After all, for those deprived souls who haven’t read the book, Mrs Large’s attempts to diet are doomed from the start because of her own desires and pressure from her family whose exasperation with the lettuce leaves and constant jogging drive them to raid the fridge (in which lies a luscious chocolate cake) in the middle of the night. If this isn’t drugs education, I don’t know what is!

I haven’t seen any materials designed to explore internet safety in the early years, but I am confident that it is possible to do this sensitively and engagingly without being too explicit.

Think B 4 U Post

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Today is European Safer Internet Day (SID) which is organised by Insafe and is supported by countries throughout Europe. SID is an annual event to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones. In the UK during the week of SID a range of activities will be taking place across the continent to help protect young people online.

The theme for SID10 is ‘Think Before You Post’  For further information about internatonal activities for SID link here.