Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

School children get web safety advice

Child on computer
Children are being advised on how to use the internet safely

Police have visited 25 Northern Ireland primary schools to tell children and teachers about internet safety.

It comes as research indicates 27% of young people across the UK have experienced bullying online.

The survey, by Microsoft, also suggested that 66% of teens surf the internet without any restrictions from their parents.

To mark EU Internet Safety Day, the PSNI and Microsoft have issued tips for parents and children to help make surfing the web safer.

Dympna Thornton, the PSNI's education advisor, said: "We want young people to be aware that the information which they share with others may actually be accessed by a wider audience and viewed by people who are not necessarily friends."

She said following advice "can help to keep them safe and prevent them from becoming a victim of malicious behaviour, crime or fraud".

Police officers and Microsoft workers have been giving 30-minute presentations at the schools on internet safety.


Among the tips they offer for children using sites such as Facebook, MySpace or Bebo are not to use your real name; never tell anyone personal things about yourself or your family; do not post photos of yourself; do not post photos or videos that you would not be happy for your parents or teacher to see and always keep passwords private.

Children are also advised never to arrange to meet someone they have met online and if contacted by someone they are unsure of, to inform a parent or a forum administrator.

Peter Russell, public sector director of Microsoft Ireland, said the internet is a fantastic resource for finding and sharing information.

"However, due to its size it can be difficult to regulate and it's very important that internet users ensure that they take the appropriate measures to protect their online safety, similar to the way in which we all take precautions to prevent our property getting stolen."

All the pupils who attended a presentation also received a booklet on gaming called 'Play Safe, Play Smart' and 'Family Safety'.

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