As Safer Internet Day approaches, Education Minister John O’Dowd has highlighted the importance of school children staying safe online.
An online broadcast will be made tomorrow, 11 February, which will provide information on online safety. The video can be watched at:
Speaking today, the Minister said: “Safer Internet Day is now celebrated in almost 100 countries worldwide and keeping school children safe online is a priority for me. I want to provide opportunities in the curriculum for children to learn, and for teachers to teach online safety. I am therefore delighted that our local education system was chosen to deliver an online event which will reach out and engage with all young people, professionals and parents here in the north of Ireland and across the world.”
Safer Internet Day 2014 is themed ‘Let’s create a better internet together’ and is being delivered by c2k and ESaGS.tv. The online broadcast will run from 12 noon on 11 February with an hour each allocated to teachers, pupils, parents and other professionals.
Continuing, the Minister said: “The internet is a rich source of information and entertainment with opportunities to learn, develop new skills and keep in touch with friends. But advances in technology can also expose children to inappropriate material and threats from which they need to be protected.
“Teachers can help equip our young people with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world. They can give pupils opportunities to use and create positive online content and at the same time give them the confidence and skills to seek help when they encounter problems online.
“Parents and carers are essential partners in a child’s internet experience and can help by having open and honest discussions with their children about their online lives. They can also provide support by demonstrating positive online behaviour themselves.”
The Minister also commented on the wide range of personal devices that can be popular with young people for accessing the internet. He said: “The increased availability of mobile internet devices makes it important that we involve children and young people in discussions about online safety and how we work towards finding solutions to the problems.
“Approaches such as Safer Internet TV provide a mechanism for reaching out and engaging with our children, young people, parents and professionals and I congratulate all involved for their innovation and creativity.”