Parents Info

 

Below is an article from The Irish Times on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 which highlights the need to teach children “Cyber Safety”

Why teaching children about cyber safety at eight is too late

New research shows how some children are using the internet before they reach five                                                                     Sheila Wayman

image for WEB 2 Feb 2017
Zeeko presenter Ursula Frawley works with children at St Pius X Girls’ National School in Terenure, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Almost nine out of 10 primary school children use mobile devices – smart phones, tablets or iPods – to access the internet, according to a new digital trend report published last week.

This highlights how constant supervision of children’s online activities is near impossible and underlines the need for them to be taught to protect themselves in the digital world.

The survey of almost 4,500 pupils aged six to 12, across 29 schools, also shows how the age at which children start to use the internet is getting younger and younger.

According to data gathered by Zeeko, a company which teaches internet safety to children, teachers and parents, the average age at which sixth-class pupils say they first went online was 7.6 years old.

But those in first class report an average age of 4.9 years for when they started using the internet.

For parents, it’s the increasing private nature of the access and use of the internet among children that the founder of Zeeko, Joe Kenny, believes is the biggest challenge.

Indeed, the chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), Grainia Long, warned in December how cyber safety was “the child protection issue of our time”.

Riskier behaviour

Her comments came as the charity highlighted in its annual review how children as young as five have unlimited and unsupervised access to the internet.

The video-sharing website YouTube is consistently the most popular app among children, according to the survey.
That is TV for their generation, points out Kenny.

It’s very different from watching scheduled television programmes in the living room – something parents would have done when they were children.

“They can go on at anytime, watch anything they search for and it will either be generated by a large broadcasting company or just a single person,” he says.

Zeeko’s digital trend report is drawn from questionnaires filled in anonymously by children and parents in separate sessions.

While it is based on self-reporting, Kenny believes the findings accurately reflect what is going on.

It’s clear, for instance, that older boys engage in riskier online behaviour – mainly through much greater participation than girls in gaming.

Some 34 per cent of sixth-class boys say they have talked to a stranger online, 70 per cent have played with a stranger online and 60 per cent have played an over-18s game.

It is probably no surprise that the majority of children are confident that they know more about the technology they are using than their parents – 66 per cent say their knowledge of online games is greater and, when it comes to apps, 59 per cent reckon they know more.

The parents’ self-ratings suggest they are right. The adults report their own knowledge as “poor” on games and “poor to good” on apps.

It might seem a paradox but Kenny believes this inversion – children who are over confident and parents who are under confident – is in fact an educational opportunity.

If children are taught to teach each other and also their parents, they can very effectively mediate responsible behaviour.

Crèche programmes

In a pilot project, Zeeko has trained 12-year-olds in three schools to deliver the internet safety message to their peers.

The feedback has been that the young tutors achieve a higher level of engagement with children than adult presenters and Kenny believes there is huge potential in such “empowerment”.

He used to think that age eight/nine was the “sweet spot” for internet safety education – before children’s online behaviour became entrenched.

However, in the past year, he has revised that downwards and is now looking at bringing age-appropriate messages to infant classes and even crèches.

Kenny draws an analogy with road safety, recalling how the Road Safety Authority ran a programme in his son’s crèche.

In the same way as we start to teach children from a very young age about the dangers of the road, so it should be with the internet.

However, far from wanting to frighten people about children’s use of digital technology, which is positive in so many ways and an integral part of their lives, Zeeko’s aim is to raise awareness of the risks and make sure youngsters have strategies to protect themselves.

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Parents might find the following link useful:-

www.helpmykidlearn.ie

 

 

 

Enrolment Forms available for School Year 2017/18 from January 9th, 2017.  Please return together with Birth Certificate and Baptismal Certificate (if applicable) to the school by 30th January 2017.  

School Phone Number: 025-32863 

 

 

A talk was held in the school about Cyber Bullying.  The talk was given by Irene Guedan and David Herbert from McAfee and was organised by the HSE.  Click on the link below to see the slides from the presentation.  

                        OnlineSafetyForYoungPeople12Nov2012

 

 

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