Catshill ICT expert calls on everyone to join the battle for Internet safety

By Tristan Harris Tuesday 05 February 2013 Updated: 05/02 20:51

A BROMSGROVE ICT consultant is urging parents and teachers to ensure young people stay safe online when they are surfing the Internet.

The calls from Brett Laniosh, from Catshill Learning Partnerships, coincide with today's (Tuesday) Internet Safety Day.

Mr Laniosh said it was important that teachers and parents did not see the Internet as a nasty and dangerous place but somewhere to learn and be creative.

And he wants them to take positive steps to ensure that young people become aware of the dangers and know how to minimise the risks.

“It is important that anyone who comes into contact with young people or uses social media such as Facebook and Twitter becomes familiar with how to behave online.

"The Internet can be a daunting place but with a few simple rules it is possible for everyone to be e-safe”

Catshill Learning Partnerships scooped the Most Promising New Business award 2012 from Bromsgrove and Redditch District Council.

Mr Laniosh works in schools to improve communication and develop learning opportunities - from sharing the safety message online to helping five-year-olds to design websites.

He added there were a some important steps for parents and teachers to follow when young people were going online:

1. Discuss as a family how the Internet will be used in your house. Consider what information should be kept private (such as personal information, photos etc) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends. Make sure you know what your child is doing online much like you would offline.

2. Discuss using strong passwords with your child so they understand how they can protect their online accounts. It is important they know they need to keep their passwords safe and not share them with anyone or use the same password for several accounts. If your child’s account is 'hacked' make sure they change their password and report any suspicious activity.

3. Install anti-virus software, secure your Internet connection and use Parental Control functions for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content or contact. Always remember that parental control tools are not always 100 per cent effective and sometimes unsuitable content may get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.

4. Consider locating your computers and laptops in a family area where children’s online activity can be monitored. Supervise the use of webcams and any applications or devices which allow voice or video chat. Also consider the use and location of other devices which allow internet access such as tablets, mobile phones and games consoles.

5. Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the Internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.

6. Always ensure your child knows how to block and report people online who may send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply and to keep any evidence.

7. Make sure your child knows that it is important to tell an adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.

8. Be realistic. Banning the Internet or websites often will not work and it can make a child feel less able to report a problem or concern, so education around safe use is essential.

For more information and guidance go to www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Catshill Learning Partnerships is rolling its free online safety for parents presentations in North Worcestershire schools.

For more information, contact Brett on 07976 610 144, email blaniosh@catshill.com or go to www.catshill.com

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