Industry to teach web safety in Irish schools for Safer Internet Day

30 Jan 2012

Anna-Maria Barry, UPC; Jill Johnston, O2 student Holly Graham from St Brigid's Primary School, Dublin City; and Orla Sheridan, Microsoft, pictured launching 'Safer Internet Talks' as part of Safer Internet Day 2012

Across the globe, this year’s Safer Internet Day will be happening on 7 February. As part of the digital safety drive, industry volunteers from Microsoft Ireland, UPC and O2 will be visiting over 10,000 kids in schools across Ireland to advise them on using the internet more safely.

With more and more younger people starting to engage in the digital age, joining social networking sites such as Facebook, and using the web for their school research projects, the aim of Safer Internet Day, which this year falls on 7 February, is to educate kids about issues such as cyberbullying, identity theft, online privacy and sexting.

The theme of the Irish event will be encourage children and teachers to ‘Discover the digital world together…safely!’

Safer internet talks will be taking place in schools across the country throughout the month of February.  Up to 100 employees from Microsoft, for instance, will be getting involved in the initiative to help children to protect their personal information online. O2 and UPC will also be sending volunteers into schools. The industry volunteers will be visiting the students with support from the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE).

The aim of the internet safety workshop will be highlight the safety issues that can arise for children using the internet, including risks associated with sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MSN.

All pupils attending the Safer Internet Day talks in schools will be given a Family Safety Kit, which will also include a guide for parents. Produced by UPC and Webwise, the pack will also contain a Parents’ Guide to help steer them in the right direction when agreeing rules for internet use in the home with their children. Webwise has also created a Facebook page to help parents who want to learn more about communicating with their kids about using the internet safely.

Webwise is co-funded by the European Union Safer Internet Programme and the Department of Education and Skills.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic