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  Safer surfing
Updated 17 July 2003, 12.11

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Media and society

Computer giant Microsoft has said it will shut its chatrooms after fears over child safety.

Make a poster or write some instructions that tell younger kids how to surf safely.

Learning aims

  • Risks of internet use
  • How to stay safe online


Read this story with the group:

Ask the class :

1. What's so good about chatrooms?
2. How is this different to making friends in the real world?
3. What do they know about Shevaun's story?
4. What do they already know about chatroom safety?
5. How might Shevaun have first put herself at risk online?
6. What other ways could this story have ended?

Main activity
[A] Working in groups, make a list of all the ways they can think of staying safe online.

[B] In pairs make a poster or booklet that tells kids how to surf safely. It should be aimed at children in the year below your group.

Their instructions should contain:

  • A clear summary of all the useful things the web can be used for

  • What to do with e-mails and attachments

  • The importance of passwords

  • The importance of not giving out personal information
Extension activity
Produce instructions for other useful computer functions, like:
  • Printing a favourite picture

  • Copying and pasting text or images into a word processing program

  • Bookmarking a web page as a 'favourite'

Recap on the main learning aims and discuss the issues involved when surfing the web.

Teachers' Background

  • According to research by the University of Central Lancashire last year, one in five nine-to-16-year-olds use chatrooms.

  • Of those one in 10 have met in person somebody they communicated with online.

  • More disturbingly, three-quarters of those who went to face-to-face meetings were not accompanied by an adult.

  • And a third did not know where to report unpleasant experiences and would not have told parents.

  • "Paedophiles are a clear and present danger when using chatrooms," a NCH spokesman told BBC News Online.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
UKChatroom crackdown helps kids be safe
UKShevaun spends first night back home
Find OutSafe surfing guide
ChatKids' comments



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