Worldwide blogathon to promote safe internet use


29 Jan 2007

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Hot on the heels of Data Protection Day, which took place yesterday, is the announcement that 6 February is to be the fourth Safer Internet Day.

Ireland is among 40 countries due to take part in the initiative, which is being organised by European Schoolnet, the co-ordinator of Insafe, the European safer internet network.

The highlight of Safer Internet Day will be a worldwide blogathon that will begin in Australia and progress westward throughout the day to finish in the US and Canada.

This year’s blogathon will include participation by hundreds of school pupils. Since October, as part of a global competition over 200 schools in 29 countries have been working in pairs to use technology to cross geographical borders and create internet safety awareness material on one of three themes: e-privacy, netiquette and power of image. All the projects will be uploaded to the blogathon.

Four prize-winning teams will be announced on the day by the EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media Viviane Reding. More than 100 organisations have signed up so far to add their posts to the blogathon on this year’s theme, Crossing Borders.

“Living and learning internationally via the internet brings a lot more excitement and knowledge into our lives. It also means that we have to learn to navigate the fine line between our own rights, freedom, privacy and the rights of others,” said Reding.

Insafe has been collecting data over the past two months through an online survey (http://insafe-survey.eun.org/) on young people’s use of the internet and mobile phones. Preliminary results will be made available on Safer Internet Day along other information for the media, parents, teachers and children in an online media room at www.saferinternet.org.

Safer Internet Day is supported by BH Consulting, whose managing director Brian Honan stressed the importance of safe use of the web. “Instilling awareness of safety issues associated with the internet in today’s young people will be beneficial to companies as these young people become tomorrow’s employees.

“Young people entering into corporate environments bring with them new ideas, energy and vitality that is vital to the continuing success of the organisation. They also bring with them new ways to exploit technology, which if not done in a safe and responsible manner could undermine the security of the companies they work for.”

By Niall Byrne

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