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Online safety campaign launched

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Children warned about online activities

A new government-backed safety campaign has been unveiled that targets children as young as five.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety, established by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2008, has issued web guidelines inspired by the Green Cross Code. Using the slogan ‘Zip it, Block it, Flag it’, parents are encouraged to teach children about keeping passwords private, blocking dangerous people and telling adults if they come across upsetting content.

It is hoped that the campaign, launched on EU Safer Internet Day, will make children of all ages more aware of the potential dangers of the internet. Recent research from Ofcom suggests that 80 per cent of five to seven year olds now use the internet.

Children’s secretary discusses internet safety

Children’s secretary Ed Balls has explained why he feels the online safety campaign is necessary. “The internet is a fantastic tool for young people and can open their eyes to tremendous opportunities,” he said. “But it’s important that parents and children understand the risks involved with using the internet, as with any area of life.”

Several major technology companies have already shown their support. Microsoft has unveiled a new version of Internet Explorer, called Click Clever Click Safe, which includes an information tab from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and various safety links preloaded in the Favourites bar. Meanwhile, the Facebook blog features a guest post from Childnet International chief executive officer Will Gardner who recommends adjusting Facebook privacy settings and thinking about the potential consequences of publishing photos online.

Written by Richard Frost

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