Connect with respect to mark safer internet day


05-February-2013

This survey will gauge students’ attitudes and perceptions through internet access, usage, safety issues, and restrictions.

Keeping children safe online is a key commitment which the organisation has taken with a coalition of key stakeholders from the private sector, Ministry of Education, the media, government departments, community leaders, youth organisations, non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives and a member of parliament.

With  the help of two experienced child exploitation and online protection (CEOP) ambassadors (people who have expertise in training others on online safety) from the International school, the group met last year to discuss and share e-safety issues and work on a new plan, which includes a survey to mark Safer Internet Day.  The theme for this year is 'Online rights and responsibilities', and the e-safe committee is encouraging all users to 'Connect with respect'.

''We are living in the digital age and the younger generations are those most active online,” a spokesperson for the group said.

“These young people are particularly at ease with the use of the internet but they are still vulnerable to online threats. It is our duty as adults to keep our children safe – and this includes safety on the web. We have to reinforce cooperation at different levels to combat cybercrime, and especially the most horrible acts such as sexual exploitation and the dissemination of child sexual abuse material online," added the spokesperson.

The e-safe committee will develop various strategies to make the internet safer through development of e-safe materials and online content. Young people as well as adults need the skills and tools for using the internet safely and responsibly.

It was felt that schools were well placed to teach children the skills needed to make the most of online opportunities as they can reach all children – including the most vulnerable ones who may not benefit from adequate parental supervision.

Teachers should therefore be trained to advise children about online safety and equipped to discuss such issues as cyber-bullying and dangers of posting photographs or giving personal information. Educating parents, teachers and E-leaders will also be a means of protecting children online.

As the internet was originally designed for adults and not kids, there is a need to ensure that children are safe online. Hence the reason for kicking off the e-safe Seychelles programme with a survey that has been designed to capture quality information through questions that would help gauge students’ attitudes and perceptions through internet access, usage, safety issues, and restrictions.

The survey will give an idea about children’s online behaviour, risks and vulnerability to harm, and will help document existing preventive and protective measures to combat online abuse and exploitation and also indicate the type of activities needed for future promotion of the campaign. 

“We want to encourage schools, the private sector, government departments, local communities, police, youth organisations, churches and the wider public to get involved in promoting Safer Internet,” the spokesperson said.

“Staying safe online is important for everyone, and by reaching out together we can promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people not only here in Seychelles but across the world,” the spokesperson added.

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