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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