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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Safer surfing for kids
Young girl surfs the internet
Key to safe surfing: Communicating with children
A site that promotes safer use of the internet has been launched by education groups across Europe.

The use of internet chatrooms by paedophiles has been back in the headlines recently and the UK Government is considering legislation to make online 'grooming' of children an offence.

Besafeonline.org has been developed by education groups in Scotland, Iceland, Spain and the Netherlands.

It offers information on software parents can use to block websites, advice on how to use chatrooms safely and other tips about keeping children safe online.

Talk to children

"With so many scare stories in the press about paedophiles and chatrooms the reaction of some parents is not to let children use the internet at all," said Eleanor Coner of the Scottish Parent Teacher Association.

"We teach our children to cross the road even though it might be busy and so we decided to come up with a green cross code for the super highway," she said.


It is crucial that children understand the risks attached to handing out any personal details online

Wendy McAuliffe, Habbo Hotel
It is hoped the site will help parents and teachers who feel that they are far less net-savvy than their children.

The most important advice is to keep on talking to your children, said Ms Coner.

"Tell them not to believe everything they read and find out who they are chatting to," she said.

Wendy McAuliffe, Safety Officer at teen chatroom Habbo Hotel agreed that parents must play a crucial role in ensuring their children are surfing safely.

"It is important that parents are familiar with the websites and chatrooms that their children are spending time in, and are aware of the people that they are e-mailing or chatting to on a regular basis," she said.

"It is crucial that children understand the risks attached to handing out any personal details online, and should be discouraged from meeting up with anyone who they have met online," she added.

See also:

05 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
07 Aug 00 | UK
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