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Tories: 5 year olds should be taught about online safety
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Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:05 am Reply and quote this post
Children as young as five would be taught about the dangers of putting theirpersonal details on the internet under plans drawn up by the Conservativesto tackle cyber-crime.
Issues such as privacy, information security, and the risks posed by postingphotographs online would all be addressed as part of the compulsory ICTcurriculum, which is introduced at Key Stage 1, the Conservatives said.
David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, attacked the Government for not doingenough to raise awareness among children of the dangers posed bycyber-crime, at a time when the threat was growing and criminals were usingincreasingly sophisticated methods to target their victims.
“From e-mail to file-sharing, social networking to shopping, the internet ispart of our lives. But we’re not the only ones to have migrated to this newcommunication platform,” Mr Davis told delegates at an e-crime conference inLondon.


“The internet is a shopping mall for criminals, and for many of us it’s in thehome that cyber-crime strikes. These days our real valuables are thepersonal details that are measured in megabites, rather than our belongings.”
The Conservatives also proposed re-establishing a national police unit givenover to cyber-crime — similar to the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, now partof the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), setting up a cyber-crime unitwithin the Crown Prosecution Service that would ensure better outcomes fromcases brought against online criminals, and creating a national complaintscentre for such offences.
Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online campaign, applauded themeasures, saying that ICT courses in schools too often focused on teachingstudents about documents and spreadsheets, but not important issues likesecurity.
“Schools need to start introducing awareness of computer security and safetyto every aspect of ICT training. Kids need to be learning about things likepasswords and privacy when they are at primary school, because that’s theage when they start using social networking sites.”
Security experts also supported the move, saying that it would help whenpersonal computers — particularly those that ran older software — did nothave parental controls that allow owners to restrict sites to which thecomputer has access.
“The Government definitely needs to be doing more to educate kids, especiallygiven that sites like Facebook are now starting to be targeted bypaedophiles,” Alan Phillips, chief executive of 7Safe, a security firm,said.
Kevin Zuccato, commander of Hi-Tech Crime Operations with the AustralianFederal Police, defended the Government, however, saying that it had one ofthe best reputations worldwide for dealing with cyber-crime, through thework of both SOCA and organisations such as the Child Exploitation andOnline Protection Centre.
He agreed that more needed to be done to educate children at a young age,because despite being extremely familiar with using the internet, youngsterswere often unaware that material they posted on the internet, such asphotographs, stayed there permanently.
A Home Office spokesman said that the Government had allocated £29 millionover three years to implement the recommendations of the recent FraudReview, including creating a National Fraud Strategic Authority, which wouldprovide “better prevention advice and alerts to fraud threats for businessesand the public”.
Some sites regularly visited by children, such as CBeebies, have begun topromote issues such as computer safety, and internet service providers workwith law enforcement agencies to restrict access to sites hosting illegalcontent.

Computers that run Vista, the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operatingsystem, now also enable owners to set controls so that children haverestricted access to the internet.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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