Every Child Matters e-Safety
An increasing number of pupils are using emerging technologies and putting themselves at risk, through a lack of understanding that online activities have offline consequences. In recent years there has been an increase in the cases of cyber bullying and online grooming. Technology is now so pervasive that it is important that teachers have a good understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of modern forms of communication (social networking websites, podcasts, blogs, Wikis, mobile phones, online games, email, texting and the Internet in general), in order to help children develop personal responsibility.
The UK Children Go Online study (2003-2005) offered a rigorous and timely investigation of 9- to 19-year-olds’ use of the internet and found that:
- Two-thirds of children and young people 64 per cent) have accessed the internet outside school or home – for example, in someone else’s house or a public library.
- Most children and young people use the internet daily (41 per cent) or weekly (43 per cent), with many children using the internet for searching and homework (90 per cent).
- Contrary to public perception, there is little reported interest in contacting strangers online,
- and most online communication is with existing friends. Generally, mobile phones are used in preference to email or instant messaging.
- Children lack key skills in evaluating online content (38 per cent of pupils aged between 9 and 19 trust most of the information online, and only 33 per cent of daily and weekly users have been taught how to judge the reliability of online information).
- Many children (30 per cent) have not received lessons on using the internet.
- Children divulge personal information online (46 per cent).
- More than half (57 per cent) of daily and weekly internet users have come into contact with online pornography.
- One-third of daily and weekly internet users have received unwanted sexual comments (31 per cent) or nasty comments (33 per cent) online or by text message.