Internet safety to be taught in schools

Lessons in how to use the Internet safely are to become a compulsory part of primary school education in England from 2011. Drawn up by the new UK Council on Child Internet Safety, the plans will also encourage children to follow an online "Green Cross Code".

The campaign, called "Zip it, Block it, Flag it" aims to encourage children to not give out personal details online, to block unwanted messages on social networks and to report inappropriate behaviour to an appropriate person or organisation, such as the website, a teacher or the police. Although the campaign is intended for schools, retailers and social networks, it will be up to them how they use it.

A spokesman for Google, which is one of the 140 organisations that makes up UKCCIS, said that most of the websites within the group already have controls that "help users manage their personal information and block or report unwanted contact," according to the BBC.

"We're strong supporters of the 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' educational campaign as another way to get this message out and help young people to remember how to stay safe online," he added.

However, Anastasua de Wall, of think tank Civitas, believes that the curriculum is already too large, which will leave to the move having little effect. "The curriculum is already massively overstretched," she told the BBC.

According to several teachers that Neowin has spoken to, schools are currently preparing advice packs for parents of young children regarding internet safety. One teacher speaking anonymously told Neowin "Although these initiatives have good intentions they tend to put extra stress and workloads upon teachers who are currently stretched for resources as it is".

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Kids might be more tech savvy but they are still naive about danger. This is why we teach them how to cross the road safely and not to take candy off strangers in the park. The fact that schools teach some basic safety skills will help catch those children born to feckless idiots who can't see danger themselves let alone teach their kids.

As for the internet, there are still vast numbers of parents who are ignorant and naive about it. If this raises awareness and saves just one child from rape and murder it will be worth it.

As a secondary school teacher, we've been teaching e-safety since September as separate units in Year 7 and Year 8. It's surprising how little they knew about staying safe on the internet previously, and they welcome the information on apps on facebook stealing details, phishing websites, malware popups, downloading things you shouldn't and viruses.

Most limit their bebo/facebook profile properly after the lessons, and are much more adept at questioning what pops up on their screen.

Tick box for the government maybe, but long overdue, and definitely worth it.

I find this quite laughable. The main problem, as someone previously stated, is the parents. Being brought up in this world, I know for a fact that there are a large number of people who really shouldn't have kids. Make the class for parents so that they can teach the children at their own discretion.

Sure, but should we punish the kids for their foolish parents? Saying parents should teach this (which I do agree with by the way) doesn't mean that they will.

I'm completely against this. The only 100% sure way of staying safe from things on the internet is to not connect to the internet. Students will simply not understand that if you connect you should take precautions. Internet abstinence is the only way to go!

The will understand and they do understand. Year 7 Secondary School first unit is E-safety, and the kids are so much more internet savvy on phishing, malware, viruses and spam after it.

SirDoan said,
was not taught anything about internet safety in school.

Neither was anyone else in this discussion I'm sure. It made news because it's new...

But I've been noticing a rather scary trend of parents not teaching kids common sense anymore. My parents sure did. Something's just missing, and whether it's parenting or not, maybe school can take the place of that teaching... They shouldn't have to, but maybe it will give the kids something...

Step one. Teach kids about the fake antivirus popup adds on websites (example Facebook) so they won't be fooled and get there computers hosed with malware. After that you can start teaching them what ever you want.

Good initiative, if it helps even just a few kids it will be worth it. People seem to just trust the internet too much, maybe because there is nothing physical to start with...

Riggers said,
Good initiative, if it helps even just a few kids it will be worth it. People seem to just trust the internet too much, maybe because there is nothing physical to start with...

Yep, and kids are WAY to willing to trust their "new friend" that they met online in some chat room or on Facebook / MySpace... It's scary.

They have already started to do something similar in my 6 year old son's school. But these ‘lessons' can have a negative impact too. He got so upset the other day when I was playing Rock Band online against ‘strangers' over the internet. He said I can't play with them as I don't know them. It almost bought him to tears. I tried to explain to him that im 31 years old and I can look after myself.

andyt31 said,
They have already started to do something similar in my 6 year old son's school. But these ?lessons' can have a negative impact too. He got so upset the other day when I was playing Rock Band online against ?strangers' over the internet. He said I can't play with them as I don't know them. It almost bought him to tears. I tried to explain to him that im 31 years old and I can look after myself.


Yeah the whole "stranger danger" thing can hurt kids in ways too...

Yeah this stuff has to be done properly, intelligently. Just scaring children doesn't work and usually causes more problems. I guess it's hard to teach very young children about the shades of grey in life but at that age he should never be online without supervision anyway (you wouldn't send them to the park alone at that age, after all). Personally I think lessons about strangers and internet safety are far more appropriate for older children who do go out or use computers by themselves.

Again this is a 'Tick in the box' for Government. They publish these grand claims to look good and nothing else and to be seen as been proactive but things are only going to get worse becuase they are going to chuck money at this project and its going to be badly managed with too many none technical people making key decisions. I know this becuase I have been there!
The internet is festering with crap and will eventually be the downfall of civilization and Im looking forward to it. Do you think things would be like this if Big Corportations ran the internet rather than been the 'free' exchange of information it once was designed for.

Sawyer12 said,
Again this is a 'Tick in the box' for Government. They publish these grand claims to look good and nothing else and to be seen as been proactive but things are only going to get worse becuase they are going to chuck money at this project and its going to be badly managed with too many none technical people making key decisions. I know this becuase I have been there!

Have to agree with this, whilst I think its a good idea, with labours lack of management skills and knowledge, it really doesn't stand a chance.

i grew up in the age of cyber bullying, and happy slapping Boramas, nothing a good shoeing to the bully wouldnt sort out, someone tried doing it to me once, so i one day i turned around, told him to sling his hook if he didnt i teach him a lesson, he carried on so i i started retaliating back to him, he hit me, so i hit him back, i got an after school detention as did he, he never picked on me again, the problem is over protective parents, raising a generation of softies, that wont stand up for themselves, and teachers saying you cant do this you cant do that.. when i was young if i fell over my mum would be like are you dead, id say no, she sed, then wht you crying for. and now im big rufty tufty boy. i dont start fights, but if one of my friends needs defending or if i need to defend myself i will.

This is not just about educating children its also about teaching parents at school level with there children so that they can see just what there kids can acheive, of cause the kids are more savy than their parents these day but it does not make these courses a waste of time. My fiance has been running these classes for more than 2 years now as her own business , and now teaches classes morning and afternoon with an average of 30 parents turning up for internet safety, cyber bullying, computer security and just plain old education of how social networking sites actually work.
You would be suprised the stories i hear from my other half on a daily basis of what some small children actually find when they are looking for something innocent eg high school musical songs and a this particular child ended up watching high school musical the pole dance version.
If anyone is interested in my partners website or details please let me know i will be happy to pass them on to anyone actually seeking info.

What happened to good old fashioned common sence, I've just turned 20, so i was a child when the internet was growing up, ive had bebo, and facebook since they started so before i turned 18, i was using Instant messageing at 12 years old when i was playing online games, text bullying, its all CR*P. I knew how to block people so you dont see their messages, i knew not to give out my personal details cus it be a stupid idea. Frustrates me how a minority of stupid people who cant educate their children properly, u wouldnt give your details to a stranger face to face the same applies online, its common sense FFS!!!!!! It only cause its technology, parents think oh its different to real life, and in some cases yes thats true, but alot of what applies in Real life applies online. Rant over lol! (p.s I know my spelling sucks, i can't spell slate my spelling all you want i dont care! lol)

So I got the wrong word, I had just pulled an all night session, writing up assignments for university. Spelling, grammer and syntax went out the window at that point. I just felt like having a little rant! Plus you obviously knew what i meant otherwise you wouldnt of been able to correct me. I would edit it now, but it wont let me.

Just another load of money wasting by ''Real (ha ha) Labour''.

In my children's school they already implement restrictions, children know how to by-pass them.

Any savvy child will know exactly how to cir cum-navigate any restrictions.

Sooner this bunch of buffoons are voted out the better.

I am happy for 500 Chimpanzee's to run the country than these morons.

The restrictions aren't the point of this article you know. It's about teaching children to be safe online. Not how to teach parents how to keep your children off the porn, away from the predators, and off the malicious download sites. This is a good idea on paper, but I don't see this doing all that much. It sounds as effective as D.A.R.E. honestly. It raises the awareness of the problems, but it's up to friends and family to really make a difference. There are a lot of teachers out there that aren't that tech saavy either. The kids are more likely to be more aware of these problems than a lot of these same teachers are.

While I want this to work and to be a huge success and have online child incident rates plummet to 0%, I'd rather have money go to something that seems like it would have a stronger benefit.

Oh well, here's hoping it works.

*whoosh*

You sort of... no, you totally missed the point. The scheme is to teach kids how to be safe online, and its a fantastic idea. Now that the internet is everywhere, its a very dangerous place (Viruses, sex offenders, stalkers, etc) and its very important that kids know this. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, the likelihood is (like KSib said) that it will be about as effective as DARE or sex-ed, but the point is that trying is better than doing nothing.

Despite your closed-minded political views, this is a good idea. Believe it or not, not everything the labour government is a bad idea (and certainly not this), and this is coming from someone that has never voted labour, and never will.

leesmithg said,
Any savvy child will know exactly how to cir cum-navigate any restrictions.


Did you even read the article? Or at least the title?

Majesticmerc said,
*whoosh*

You sort of... no, you totally missed the point. The scheme is to teach kids how to be safe online, and its a fantastic idea. Now that the internet is everywhere, its a very dangerous place (Viruses, sex offenders, stalkers, etc) and its very important that kids know this. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, the likelihood is (like KSib said) that it will be about as effective as DARE or sex-ed, but the point is that trying is better than doing nothing.

Despite your closed-minded political views, this is a good idea. Believe it or not, not everything the labour government is a bad idea (and certainly not this), and this is coming from someone that has never voted labour, and never will.

Wholeheartedly agree with this. All we can do is arm our kids with the knowledge we have, whether or not they choose to follow or blatantly ignore it is up to them.

KSib said,
The restrictions aren't the point of this article you know. It's about teaching children to be safe online. Not how to teach parents how to keep your children off the porn, away from the predators, and off the malicious download sites. This is a good idea on paper, but I don't see this doing all that much. It sounds as effective as D.A.R.E. honestly. It raises the awareness of the problems, but it's up to friends and family to really make a difference. There are a lot of teachers out there that aren't that tech saavy either. The kids are more likely to be more aware of these problems than a lot of these same teachers are.

Well, I have lived and went to school in areas that had D.A.R.E. programs, and those that did not. I can tell you that the difference was fairly significant. Not only with harder drugs, but smoking and drinking as well... I support that program as I've seen how it can work.

If this can do the same thing to smarten up kids about the dangers of the internet, I think that would be great.

Using Parental controls in Vista and 7 and even adding them using Windows Live is a good idea too. Limiting kids amount of time online is probably a healthy thing to do as minutes can often turn into hours and who knows what they are surfing! Another good way to block content is using OpenDNS

Tom W said,
Using Parental controls in Vista and 7 and even adding them using Windows Live is a good idea too. Limiting kids amount of time online is probably a healthy thing to do as minutes can often turn into hours and who knows what they are surfing! Another good way to block content is using OpenDNS :)

Emphasis added. While I believe that technology can be a useful tool in a childs education it needs to be used in moderation, there are too many parents out there today that just let their children roam free on the internet without any real restrictions as to how long they are on the computer. Going outside, spending time with friends, or participating in extra-curricular activities are all crucial to a childs social development, there's not a computer in the world that could replace that.

Good use of emphasis Kristan K. Parents need to be more involved. That's really what this comes down to and though I think schooling like this is a great step, I don't think it would be enough by itself.

Fubar said,
This seems pretty decent thing to do, I have already taught my son something similar.

Yeah, I agree. It should be required schooling in the US as well. You just can't rely on parents to teach their kids common sense...