Promote safer surfing

26th October 2007 at 01:00
Some chilling facts: a survey carried out by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, of 6,000 young people with the internet at home, found that one in four had agreed to a face-to-face meeting with a stranger they had encountered online. With 57 per cent of UK homes online, the potential danger is huge. The good news is that 80 per cent took another person along with them; the bad news is that 80 per cent of those companions were other children.

These figures were recently presented by Jim Gamble, chief Executive of CEOP, to a National Governors Association conference. He left no doubt that child pornography is big business and that internet chatrooms are a favourite place for paedophiles to make contact with children.

What's this got to do with governors? A lot. Governors have a statutory duty "to make arrangements for carrying out their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children". This does not mean trying to put some protective umbrella over them - impossible in any case. What it does mean is seeing to it that our schools engage children in learning to protect themselves. Education is the best means of protection.

One simple step is to ensure children are aware of the "Report Abuse" button that features on an increasing number of social networking websites. With one click they can get through to the CEOP if they suspect the motives of the person they are chatting with. Another step is to ensure that your teachers receive training in how to instruct pupils in online safety; the CEOP runs free training courses.

This is not a matter of getting hysterical, but of taking Every Child Matters seriously. We'd expect the school to teach safety before letting children out in a boat; now we need them to teach safety before they go surfing the net.

Stephen Adamson, Vice-chairman, National Governors Association.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now