Learn the skills to protect children from the growing dangers that lurk online

Parents can learn about ways of protecting their children online

Parents can learn about ways of protecting their children online

First published in News

IT is National Internet Safety Week and today is Safer Internet Day, or SID for short.

As a parent, I find it very upsetting that something that was thought to keep our children safer is now the cause of such concern.

I am talking about mobile phones and the 24/7 access to the internet that some also provide.

Watching breakfast television this morning, I listened to three girls admit rather shamefacedly that they spent 92per cent of their waking hours glued to their phones. I would endorse that, as I used to say about my children when they still lived at home that they would cease to exist if they lost theirs!

I remember once jamming the brakes on as I drove my daughter to meet her friends (the most important role of any parent!) and saying that if she couldn’t do me the courtesy of holding a conversation with the chauffeur instead of texting, I would drive her home where she could continue to text in glorious solitude for the rest of the day.

She was ruefully apologetic, but the truth of it is, that today’s young people do the majority of their social communication through their phones, which also give them access to the internet.

We have heard a lot recently about the pressures on young people, the rise in internet pornography and the view of sex that that is fostering.

The article on breakfast television went on to describe the latest craze of “sexting”, sending intimate images across the web and the impact if those images are carelessly shared on YouTube or other similar sites.

We have also heard about the dangers and the tragic consequences of cyber bullying and perhaps the saddest implication of all is that our children are no longer safe in their own homes, with parents only becoming aware of the problem when it is too late and the damage is done.

As a librarian, I am extremely proud of the People’s Network computers that we have in our libraries.

They give everyone access to the widening world of information regardless of their personal circumstances, continuing a long tradition of libraries breaking down barriers to learning and information.

But the internet comes with a health warning; it is uncensored and only loosely monitored and so I am really happy to tell you about the courses that we offer to enable everyone, whether teacher or parent or concerned adult to gain the skills to help protect our young people from this growing problem.

You can access this course for FREE, via St Helens VLE (iLearn) www.sthelensacl.ac.uk (follow eLearning links on Home Page to Internet Safety).

Two of the aims of the course are:

1 To understand the risks that can exist when using the internet.

2 To understand how to safeguard yourself and others when working online and you can explore the course modules and take the mock test. Every library is a registered test centre, so come along to your local library and enroll and get a certificate for completing the test with us.

Help us to keep St Helens children safe.

As always, keep reading.

Sue Williamson Head of Library Services

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