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Internet Safety For Highland Children

22nd February 2009

Photograph of Internet Safety For Highland Children

Every pupil in the Highlands has been issued with important information to protect themselves online. They will receive a leaflet entitled 'How can I protect myself? Ciamar A Dhonas Mi Mi-fhin?' which was distributed to coincide with 'Safer Internet Day', a global event which takes place each year in early February with the purpose of promoting safer and more responsible use of online and mobile communication technology.

All schools in the Highlands are being encouraged to hold their own internet safety discussions, events and activities to make pupils and parents aware of the importance of being good 'digital citizens' and ensure they know how to keep themselves safe. Schools are encouraged to have fun with the internet as well as reinforcing the benefits of using the internet safely.

The Highland Council's Education Culture and Sport Service, which developed the leaflets, provides internet access through more than 130 publicly available computers, which are filtered appropriately for young people under 16. The leaflet provides key points to remember when using the internet such as, 'The internet is a public place - you have to be careful who you trust out there! Always use a nickname, keep your real name, address, telephone number and school name a secret, the same goes for your friends' details too. Don't send anyone pictures of yourself without checking with parents or guardians".

Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council, Education, Culture and Sport Committee, welcomed this approach. He said: "It's vital that young people can be using these great opportunities for communicating, learning and socialising both safely and responsibly. Through this initiative we hope that they can learn to protect themselves and enjoy the benefits of new technology."

The Highland Council Education, Culture and Sport Service, Northern Constabulary and NHS Highland in partnership with other agencies has recently developed an E-Safety Strategy which has recommended that all schools include a comprehensive programme of education on 'Internet Safety and Responsible Use' using approved resources.www.thinkuknow.co.uk which is the education strand of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has been fully endorsed by the Highland E-Safety Group and provides further information for young people, parents / carers and professionals. Information leaflets on Internet Safety that can be ordered free of charge are also available from the NHS Highland's Health Information Resources Service, through their website .www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/hirs

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