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On Internet Safety day this week we read that children as young as 5 are to be targeted in a new government backed campaign designed to raise children’s awareness of the risks of the internet.   

The emphasis in this new initiative is firmly on empowering children to be aware of the risks and use caution, while accepting that children will be using this technology and it’s not realistic to try and stop them.

An Ofsted report supports this way of working with children.  They found that pupils in schools with ‘managed’ rather than ‘locked’ systems had a better understanding of how to stay safe online.  On a managed system less sites are completely inaccessible, so pupils have to take more responsibility for their own safety.

My children’s school have been having their own Internet Safety Week this week and the message definitely seems to be getting through to them that they need to be careful about what information they choose to share with people. 

I’m really glad to see that the advice on internet safety has moved away from blanket banning and blocking of sites  and has shifted to encouraging children to think more carefully about how to keep safe.  I’ve never been one for too much net nannying, I would rather my children learned to think for themselves and had the knowledge and skills needed to make safe decisions.

With the government’s plans to have broadband installed in all homes by 2012, it is vital that all children in the UK have the understanding and skills needed to be able to use the internet safely.

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