Safer Internet Day 2012: Schools and (ISC)² Professionals Work Together to Teach Healthy Instincts for a Digital Generation

London, U.K., 7 February 2012 – Schools across the United Kingdom today marked Safer Internet Day 2012 to tackle uninhibited online attitudes that leave children increasingly vulnerable to cyber bullying, abusive gamers, identity theft and malicious threats. 19 (ISC)² Safe and Secure Online volunteers are out in force today, visiting children and parents in schools across the UK, including South Wales, Kent, Cumbria, Worcester and Teesside. More than 4,000 children will be taking part.

As part of their effort, volunteers survey children and encourage discussion of both risks and behavioural concerns. For example, over 1,500 10-12 year olds in the London area recently revealed that most (65 percent) use the Internet every day, with 50 percent of children reported being online after 10 pm on school nights. The survey confirms widespread flouting of age limits, with 63 percent of the 10 to 12 year olds using the social networking site Facebook, despite the requirement to be at least 13 years of age to join. Further, 33 percent of kids admit to participating in online gaming every day, with 70 percent playing 18 year old-rated games. A significant number are putting themselves in physical danger, as 10 percent admitted they have met an online friend in person, with 28 percent of them going to meet the friend on their own.

The (ISC)² Safe and Secure programme is vitally important to us,” says Stuart Kerner, assistant vice principal, Bexleyheath Academy, in Kent. “Just like sex and relationships education, drugs education and anti-smoking education, this programme informs young people of common dangers they may face. It is important that we do everything we can to educate children and parents alike on the necessary safeguards required in the online world.”

“Parents remain oblivious to some of the abuse children are exposed to as they, for example, play with adults in the most popular online games,” says (ISC)² Safe and Secure Online coordinating volunteer Tim Wilson, a certified security professional working with the NHS and former school governor at Bexleyheath Academy in Kent. “Some of these games are so realistic that the hand-held units vibrate to simulate bones breaking. The teachers in schools react with shock as they learn about the late night activity and they are concerned that children are coming to lessons tired.”

Commenting on the importance of Safer Internet Day, David Potts, assistant principal, Stourport High School and VIth Form Centre in Worcestershire says, “As the Internet and social networking become increasingly powerful influences upon the lives of young people, it is important to ensure that they know how to protect themselves from potential dangers. Safer Internet Day reinforces this issue in a proactive way by providing an environment to discuss the dangers of Internet use with an expert and the strategies that they can use to stay safe. We value the contribution that Safer Internet Day and (ISC)² make to ensure the safety of students in our care.”

“Being empowered to use the Internet safely and effectively is crucial in everyday life. The support received from the ‘(ISC)² Safe and Secure Online’ has been very beneficial to our E-Safety programme, bringing in presentations and workshops from respected experts and providing support material for our pupils. It is really important that we continue to foster these partnerships to provide the best possible opportunities for our pupils,” adds Sue Dye, Leader of ICT Arnold Academy in Bedfordshire.

The (ISC)² Safe and Secure Online programme is a global initiative designed to teach children from the age of seven how to protect themselves and their online world. The programme was developed with the support of Childnet International, one of three charitable organisations who work in partnership to manage The UK Safer Internet Centre, www.saferinternet.org.uk, and co-ordinate the array of activities across the UK for Safer Internet Day 2012. (ISC)² is supporting Safer Internet Day with interactive sessions for children and parents across the UK, highlighting not just the risks, but the behavioural concerns that are leading to trouble.  

“Online attitudes today have long-term implications, making it important to encourage healthy instincts for these technologies,” emphasises Wilson. “With youngsters today being less inhibited and therefore more likely to be abusive online or openly flouting parent and school authorisation, there is a high likelihood that they will keep this mindset as they grow up and enter the working world, unless parents and teachers recognise the need to correct them.”

“As an outstanding Specialist Technology College, we take seriously our responsibility for ensuring the safety of our young people. We are an outward-facing school and have established strong links with local, regional, national and international communities. Many of these links rely heavily on the use of internet technology. We are delighted to take part in the Safer Internet Day, whose focus is connecting generations and educating each other. This is particularly important in an ever changing, digital world,” says Rob Atkin, Network Technology Manager, Bydales School, a Specialist Technology College in Northumbria.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated worldwide, and this year it provides an opportunity to encourage users young and old to discover the digital world together safely. The (ISC)² Safe and Secure Online program is available to schools, community and youth groups year-round. It is managed by the charitable arm of (ISC)², The (ISC)² Foundation, created to help the 80,000 professionally certified (ISC)² members make the cyber world a safer place through education and awareness in the community. Volunteer professionals, responsible for information security in banking, retail, telecommunications and other sectors, are equipped to share their first-hand knowledge in face-to-face sessions that make the subject come alive for children and their parents. For more information or to organise a session visit: https://cyberexchange.isc2.org/safe-secure.aspx

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About (ISC)²

(ISC)² is the largest not-for-profit membership body of certified information security professionals worldwide, with over 80,000 members in more than 135 countries. Globally recognised as the Gold Standard, (ISC)² issues the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) and related concentrations, as well as the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP®), Certified Authorisation Professional (CAP®), and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP®) credentials to qualifying candidates. (ISC)²’s certifications are among the first information technology credentials to meet the stringent requirements of ISO/IEC Standard 17024, a global benchmark for assessing and certifying personnel. (ISC)² also offers education programs and services based on its CBK®, a compendium of information security topics. More information is available at www.isc2.org

About UK Safer Internet Centre – www.saferinternet.org.uk

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charitable organisations, Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Collectively, these organisations have operated for 38 years in online safety; all working to make the internet a better environment, mirroring the conclusions of Professor Tanya Byron in her report to UK Government, by reducing availability (of illegal content), restricting access (where appropriate) and increasing resilience (through education, awareness and empowerment). All partners recognise the unparalleled opportunities the internet offers and actively encourage its positive use for social, leisure, economic and educational advancement. The partners all work towards the Childnet target; to make the Internet a great and safe place for children.  


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