Internet challenges that face our children
THE head of a Warwick primary school admits that the digital expertise so quickly acquired by children using the internet “frightens the life” out of her.
Sarah Sheepy, the joint head teacher of Coten End Primary School (pictured in the inset, right), said: “Parents can be quite naive about what their child is doing online, especially now there are not only home computers and X-Boxes but portable iPads and Kindles where games can be shared with complete strangers.
“And those who do mean harm to children are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Sometimes abuse can be carried out without them even meeting the youngster - it frightens the life out of me.”
Mrs Sheepy was talking on Tuesday after at IT expert from Warwickshire County Council presented a special assembly to eight-to-ten-year-olds at the 436-pupil school warning them of the dangers of offering to much personal information and showing them the best ways to stay safe when online.
There are also separate age-specific assemblies for children as young as four.
Other sessions are targeted at school staff and there are more for parents.
County council experts have found that fewer parents than they would like tend to attend the sessions, possibly because they believe they already know all they need to know about the internet.
Mrs Sheepy has no doubt the potential for good that can be achieved by going online is huge.
But she says: “We all have a duty to become technologically aware of the dangers. We have to remember that our children are what has been described as ‘digital natives’ whilst nearly all adults are ‘digital immigrants’ who came to the internet later in life.”
Children accessing Facebook should not be younger than 13.
Tuesday was also officially Internet Safety Day when a survey of 24,000 children nationally revealed that 31 per cent of primary school children had stopped enjoying their time online as a result of mean comments or behaviour by others. The percentage rose to a quarter for 11-19-year-olds.
More worrying, perhaps, was the fact that only 22 per cent of primary children would report back to a parent if they saw something upsetting or embarrassing online, including scary videos or games, violent films, rude pictures and bad language.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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