2nd February 2010
Helping children to stay safe online
THE Southern Multi-Agency Team is encouraging schools to play a part in helping children stay safe online.
It is highlighting the fact that expert advice is available via www.thinkuknow.co.uk – a website run by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, which is affiliated to the police.
Its initiative with schools coincides with Safer Internet Day, Tuesday 9 February.
Southern MAT chairman Karen Davies said:
‘We are working towards the five outcomes outlined in the Children’s Plan, published last year.
‘Internet safety is one of the areas that we have identified as being a priority within the “stay safe” outcome.
‘We feel that to stay safe when using the internet, children and families need to be more aware of the dangers involved. Encouraging schools to ask children and parents to think about internet safety is a good starting point.
‘Safer Internet Day gives us the perfect opportunity to draw attention to this. We hope to get the message out that although the internet is an invaluable resource and can be great fun, it also holds hidden dangers and that the better informed you are, the greater chance there is of staying safe.’
Karen said of the website:
‘There is a superb range of activities and resources that can be used by professionals, children and parents to learn how to use the internet more safely.’
Safer Internet Day was launched today (2 February) at Rushen Primary School.
Headteacher Tom Thomson welcomed the initiative, saying:
‘As modern technology such as mobile phones and computers play such an integral part in the lives of young people, particularly the internet and the many social networking sites that are now available, it is vital that children and parents are aware that there are two sides to these means of communication: the up side, which means that they can network easily with their friends, but also a darker side, which means those who should not have access to them can do so if they are not careful.
‘The Southern MAT team is to be applauded for raising awareness that careless access and use of technology could lead to bad outcomes for our young people.’
Mr Thomson continued:
‘A multi-agency team that works to bring together all those involved in the support and development of young people in the south of the Island is a great asset that has come to us as a result of the Children’s Plan published by the Government last year. That it is now in a position to actively organise events such as this, which impact on children’s life opportunities, is an excellent example of Government policy working in a practical way to improve their future. I look forward to further initiatives like this taking place.’
Detective Inspector Phil Shimmin, from the Isle of Man Constabulary, added his backing to the initiative, saying:
‘The internet is a wonderful resource which is used daily by the majority of children. Research shows that half of all children who use the internet do so for over an hour a day. However, children who use the internet need to be aware of the dangers that exist and I am a great fan of the www.thinkuknow.co.uk website, which is a marvellous educational tool, not only for children of all ages, but for parents and teachers as well.’