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ISPs Must Help – Safer Surfing For Kids

Posted: 07th Jul, 2003 By: MarkJ
THUS, the operator behind ISP Demon Internet, has today issued a new press release calling on UK ISPs to take an active role in the promotion of Internet safety for school children:

THUS CALLS ON ISPs TO SUPPORT INTERNET SAFETY TALKS FOR SCHOOLS

THUS plc, one of the UK's leading providers of voice, data, Internet and contact centre services, today called on ISPs to take an active role in the promotion of Internet safety to school children. Following work with 'Junior Citizen' in Surrey, a multi-agency scheme led by Surrey Police, THUS has seen a six-fold increase in the demand for school talks on Internet safety. As a result THUS's time commitment has increased to 60 working days per year compared to 10 working days two years ago.

THUS is now calling on its industry peers to support the creation of an industry working group, possibly led by THUS, that would resource and develop the programme of talks on a national basis. Without industry support THUS fears that some school children will not get access to Internet safety talks. Commenting on the situation, Mark Gracey, manager for Internet content regulation at THUS plc said:

"Children have embraced the Internet at school, at home and with friends. The Internet brings exciting new opportunities for communication, but sadly it is not immune to criminal abuse and exploitation. ISPs can help in terms of education in order to protect children."

Gracey continued: "THUS and its staff have done everything we can to support the promotion of Internet safety, but we simply do not have the resources to take this initiative to the next stage by ourselves. We have been campaigning for industry support for some time now and while some companies have shown an interest in supporting us, none have come through with concrete proposals."

Commenting on the Internet safety element of the Junior Citizen programme, Surrey Police's Youth Affairs Officer for East Surrey PC Tom Campbell said: "This is a really excellent scheme which has gained a high reputation. Youngsters are enthusiastic participants who are receptive to the practical guidance they receive on Internet safety. I am sure it helps them to appreciate dangers and I believe that all school children would benefit from access to such talks. I know a lot of hard work goes into organising and delivering the Internet safety talks and we very much appreciate the effort put in by THUS and its employees."

In his role, Mark Gracey works with Junior Citizens to educate children throughout Surrey about safety issues surrounding the Internet. The Junior Citizen event is held throughout the year in Surrey. In East Surrey it is twice yearly, and around 1100 children will spend half a day at the venue over the two weeks it is run. Each event comprises a number of interactive seminars where Year 6 children (aged 10-11), in groups of around six pupils, learn about personal safety. At each event talks are given by the emergency services, the utilities and THUS. In the Fire Service seminar for example, children learn what to do in the event of a fire in their home. In the Internet seminar given by THUS, children hear about how to use the Internet safely.

THUS's presentation on Internet safety is built upon Childnet International's Kidsmart programme which includes the SMART guidelines http://www.kidsmart.org.uk:

S: SAFE - always keep your name, address, mobile phone number and password private - it's like giving out the keys to your home.

M: MEETING someone you've met in cyberspace can be dangerous. Only do so with your parent/carer's permission and when they can be present.

A: ACCEPTING emails or files from people you don't know can get you into trouble - they may contain viruses or nasty messages.

R: REMEMBER someone online may not be who they say they are. Stick to public areas in chat rooms and if you feel uncomfortable get out.

T: TELL your parent or carer if someone makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.
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