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Online safety lessons for five-year-olds


The Guardian

School pupils as young as five will be taught how to stay safe on the internet, under new government plans unveiled today.

Ministers want online safety to become a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2011.

Youngsters face lessons on avoiding cyberbullies and predatory paedophiles alongside more traditional warnings about busy roads and strangers.

The move formed part of Britain's first internet safety strategy, drawn up by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

The plan, Click Clever, Click Safe, will be officially unveiled by the prime minister, Gordon Brown, today.

It outlines how the government, industry and charities are working together to keep children and young people safe online.

The strategy aims to implement recommendations drawn up by psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, who examined the impact of the internet and video games.

She found that young people have greater online access than ever before, with 99% of eight- to 17-year-olds using the web.

But research found almost one in five have come across inappropriate content and a third said their parents did not monitor their online activities.

The strategy also includes proposals to independently review internet companies, charities and the public sector to check they meet new child safety standards.

Every one of 270,000 computers provided under the government's home access scheme will include a "panic button" providing access to help.

Parents will also be offered access a one-stop shop website for internet safety advice hosted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Set up in 2008, the internet child safety group is made up of more than 140 organisations, including Google, Microsoft, Bebo and the NSPCC.


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