Kids to be taught internet safetyInitiative aims to help children stay safe online

21 September 2006

A child using a compuer mouse

Schoolchildren are being taught how to stay safe online and avoid internet predators as part of a new government-backed initiative.

The ThinkuKnow programme will also provide kids with an online reporting system they can use to let police know about instances of abuse.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre will then investigate, and can arrest and bring to account any offenders.

There will be a UK-wide education campaign in schools, foster homes and youth centres. It’s hoped that about a million children will have attended information sessions by next March.

Safeguards

Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre, said:‘The internet is now integral to the lives of our children. Yet for many parents what their children are doing online is a mystery.

‘Children themselves however continue to push the boundaries with possibilities that are almost endless...in the same way as we safeguard our playgrounds, our parks, our streets, we must secure in whatever way possible the public place that is the internet. Empowering children is one critical way of doing that.’

Computing Which? investigation

A Computing Which? investigation last week revealed youngsters using popular social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace are in danger of being exposed to pornography and bullying.

It found numerous examples of both when researchers signed up to these sites, which are the two most popular social networking sites used by young people. Bebo has since beefed up its anti-bullying measures.

Computing Which? Editor Jessica Ross welcomed the new CEOP initiative: ‘Computing Which? is pleased to see the work undertaken by the CEOP, and the ThinkuKnow campaign, to help educate children about the internet - children need to be aware that there is no way of knowing who is behind the face of a "friend" online.’