Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SLF08: Internet Safety and Responsible use

Live blog of Ollie Bray and PC David Gunn at Scottish Learning Festival

Ollie started off taking about the importance of partnership. The programme was developed in partnership with Lothian and Borders Police as well as Young Scot and CEOP and the Think U Know site. David Gunn praised the work of CEOP and the Think U Know site. Seeks to "empower" young people through education and to hold offenders to account. Free resources to all and some extra things for people who have completed the training.

In East Lothian, there are three parent workshops a year and are aiming to have at least ne trained person in each primary school and all secondary guidance staff. Also, all headteachers have had a one hour session. This has helped gain the support of all schools in the authority. They use Hector's World and Cyber Café.

Why start with the parents? Ollie was fielding complaints from parents on a Monday morning about online bullying. In general schools supervise and monitor Internet access. The problems therefore generally come from out of school, so important to raise awareness. A key aspect was marketing to parents. Letters posted to parents (not sent home with children), text messages sent as reminders and advert in local press.

The feeling is that by S3, they think they already know - even if hey don't, so important to educate younger pupils before the bad habits are established.

Lots of other resources include Safer Internet Day and the SQA Int 1 Internet Safety unit.

Education is important because 55% of teenager use the Internet every day, 33% have access in their bedroom. Online gaming is becoming more common and so predators are beginning to hang out in online games. In 2007, 25% said they have spoken with someone online and then met them in real life. They tend not to go on their own 83% take a friend, but the presenters say they have to take an adult.

They talk about the four Cs: Content, Commerce, Contact and {Curses! - missed it :-)} Adults and children tend to use the Internet in different ways. Also, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. The children know they shouldn't give out personal information in the street but are not wise enough to see that they are doing that on Bebo. Major issue is that the Internet is going mobile. It is on their phone via free wi-fi connections - moving out of the family home.

Mobile phones and the law. If you take a photo of a person under 18 then legislation applies. Means if they take photos of boy/girlfriends. If they then break up but send these photos to others, they will be committing an offence. Downloading an image counts the same as "making".

Something else children find difficult to understand is that it is almost impossible to delete. See for example the Way Back Machine. Even deleting an image from a phone doesn't get rid of it. Businesses also regularly Google their employees and potential employees.

Parents need educated as to what their children's games machines can do. They may have the machine in a family area, but don't realise what the games machines in their children's rooms can do. Online gaming is pitched at very young children (e.g. penguin world thing in Disney) and Habbo Hotel. These worlds are virtual - can meet friends if you are not allowed out to meet them and can change your appearance - all this is attractive to young people. Yet, Ollie showed excellent machinima video on Habbo hotel showing how easily an inappropriate conversations develop.

Ollie also made the point that some people are inappropriately interested in children but more are interested in theft! If your children give away your address inadvertently and then mention you are going on holiday and then ... :-)

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