Primary pupils to be taught net awareness

6 Feb 2004

The National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) has unveiled a new primary school awareness programme to coincide with today’s ‘European Safer Internet Day’.

Part of the SAFT (Safety Awareness Facts & Tools) project funded by the European Commission under the Safer Internet Action Plan, the scheme is currently active in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. The new education programme was devised by the five countries and is comprised of classroom resources to help teachers and parents encourage a responsible approach to exploring the internet and provides pupils with a series of interactive learning modules.

The resources will be distributed to every primary school in Ireland along with a video narrated by Ian Dempsey that offers advice and guidelines for making children more web-savvy. The scheme was officially launched by Brian Lenihan TD, Minister of State for Children, at St Francis Xavier’s Senior National School in Castleknock this morning.

“Most children have their first encounter with the Internet between the ages of 8 and 10,” said the Minister. “It is therefore important that an educational programme should target this age group.”

“We will provide materials that kids will be able to engage with so that they can acquire a safe approach,” explained NCTE director Jerome Morrissey (pictured). “There are six different modules. The first is about surfing, learning the physical techniques of it but also the safeguards. It’s about acquiring safe practices in using the internet and developing an awareness that not everything you see will be right.”

The accompanying video was jointly developed by the NCTE, the Internet Advisory Board (IAB) and Microsoft. The IAB is funded by the Information Society Commission and since it was set up by the Department of Justice in 2002 has been responsible for monitoring and promoting awareness of the internet.

By Ian Campbell