Online safety to be taught in schools

Online safety

The government, in partnership with industry, today unveiled a new Green Cross Code for the internet in a bid to help kid keeps safe while they're online.

The new internet safety strategy aims to protect both children and young people from the harmful effects of the web and comes with the slogan of 'Click Clever Click Safe.' It was launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the first UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) summit held today in London.

Almost one fifth (18 per cent) of young people has come across some form of inappropriate or harmful content online, according to research published to coincide with the strategy's launch. What's more, a third of children claim their parents don't really have any idea of what they're up to when they're surfing the web.

The new strategy, which includes recommendations from Professor Tanya Byron's Safer Children in a Digital World review, will ensure key web stakeholders such as ISPs, charities and the government will be reviewed against new UKCCIS safety standards.

Schools, charities, children and parents will be encouraged to use a new digital Green Cross Code, reminding them to 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it.' In addition, parents will be directed to a dedicated web safety resource hosted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP).

"The internet provides our children with a world of entertainment, opportunity and knowledge - a world literally at their fingertips," said Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a statement.

"But we must ensure that the virtual world is as safe for them as this one. Today we are launching our online version of the 'green cross code'. We hope that zip it, block it, flag it' will become as familiar to this generation as stop, look, listen' did to the last."

The school curriculum will also be affected. From 2011, online safety will become a compulsory part of education for all over five.

"The internet presents tremendous opportunities for young people, but with this come risks. Online safety is an issue of growing importance for parents and families who rightly have concerns about what their children see and do online," Children's Secretary Ed Balls added in a statement.

"New standards on internet safety mark a watershed in government and industry cooperation. I am pleased some of the biggest names in the industry, including Microsoft, Google, and Bebo are giving it their backing. In addition, our new digital code will provide a handy tool for children and parents to give them the confidence to know how to protect themselves online."

The hundreds of thousands of computers destined for use under the government's Home Access scheme will also have an online safety element in the form of the CEOP Advice, Help, Report button. And the goverment will also share its experience of tackling the issue on the global stage as part of work with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.