Monday 21 August 2017

Online for a lesson in internet safety

Jonathan Lane (6) and Annabel Lane (3) from Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, at the launch of UPC Ireland's new E-Safety website
Jonathan Lane (6) and Annabel Lane (3) from Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, at the launch of UPC Ireland's new E-Safety website

Ralph Riegel and Katherine Donnelly

INTERNET safety lessons are to be extended to primary school pupils as a new survey highlights the dangers for children of going online.

The age at which children start using the internet is going down, with seven-year-olds now logging on regularly. Meanwhile, social-networking sites are increasingly popular.

In the new lessons, children will be given tips on how to protect themselves and advised about cyber-bullying.

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe warned yesterday that it was vital that "safe and common-sense" web usage be promoted among schoolchildren.

He was speaking as a new study by Microsoft revealed 71pc of the Irish teenagers surveyed said they had been approached online by a stranger when using social-networking sites.

Alarmingly, 43pc admitted that they had responded to the approach "out of curiosity".

The study also found that 79pc of Irish teenagers regularly use social-networking sites.

With the rollout of a computer programme for schools now under way, Mr O'Keeffe said his department was putting safety packages into every school "to make them aware of some of the difficulties that might arise".

He said: "We need to be vigilant. Everything that is uploaded on the internet can be used for purposes other than what it was meant for."

The Microsoft survey also found that 66pc of teenagers believed it was perfectly safe to post personal data online.

But it also revealed 73pc of parents were actively controlling their children's internet use.

Irish Independent

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