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Keep children safe online – Weir

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With the increasing use of digital technology, and social media in particular, it is vital that our young people are aware of the potential dangers online and understand how to keep themselves safe and be responsible. Millions of photos and messages are exchanged online each day and can be overwhelming for young minds.

Speaking on ‘Safer Internet Day 2017’ Peter Weir said: “Events such as Safer Internet Day are an effective and important way to increase awareness of online safety. It is now a truly global event and reaches millions of young people.”

Safer Internet Day 2017 is themed ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’ and young people in over 100 countries are considering what they can do to help make the internet a safer, kinder place.

The day offers the opportunity to highlight the positive uses of technology whilst exploring the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.

Continuing, the Minister said: “The internet is a rich source of information and entertainment and opens up exciting opportunities for teaching and learning. However, we must all remain vigilant to the dangers and ensure that young people are not only protected, but also educated on appropriate and responsible usage.

“Safeguarding children is of paramount importance and C2k’s Education Network service, available to all pupils, has been designed with a clear focus on eSafety with built in controls to protect users as well as operating a rigorous internet filtering policy. Teachers and parents play a crucial role in supporting children to navigate the risks and make the most of technology. Teachers can give pupils opportunities to use and create positive online content and at the same time give them the confidence and the skills to seek help should they encounter problems online. Parents can help by engaging with their children and encouraging them to talk about any concerns.”

In conclusion, the Minister said: “The Department has recently issued an updated set of guiding principles for keeping pupils and the wider school community safe online. It remains essential that awareness of internet safety is a priority for us all.”

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