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Training helps protect youngest, most vulnerable

NetSafe – The Internet Safety Group
Media Release
20th October 2006

NetSafe trials a success – training helps protect our youngest and most vulnerable

NetSafe – The Internet Safety Group announced the success of the trials of their newest training, for staff of Early Childhood Education services (ECE) in New Zealand.

127 staff from ECE services[1] around New Zealand have taken part in a trial of NetSafe’s cybersafety education module, designed to help keep under fives safer around ICT[2] . This includes the Internet, digital cameras and mobile phones.

Richard Beach – NetSafe ECE Manager says “the ‘First Steps to Cybersafety’ training module has been very well received by the sector during the trials”.

One participant comments that the training is:
“the most valuable course content of any professional development I have attended this year”

ICT is increasingly used in early childhood teaching and learning situations as it offers opportunities for fun, learning and interactivity. There are also some risks which are important to manage. Risks to younger children in the online environment include:
* Access to inappropriate material (like pornography)
* Divulging personal information about themselves which leaves them at risk from online predators
* Being a victim of cyber bullying
* Not questioning the truth or reality of what is seen or heard
* Overuse.

Another course participant commented that the training “… has created for me such an awareness that I will be observing and questioning many more practices.”

With the support of IBM and the Ministry of Education, NetSafe have worked alongside representatives from a variety of ECE sector organisations to develop policy, use agreements and training modules to help protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of society.

Richard says that “the next step will be piloting the full programme[3] which includes policies, training, use agreements (around ICT use), and community education with a number of Early Childhood Education services around New Zealand.”

ENDS


[1] Like kindergartens, playcentres, kohunga reo and day care centres
[2] ICT (information Communication Technologies) include mobile phones, computers, digital cameras and any device which can be used to access the Internet.
[3] First Steps to Cybersafety is a NetSafe programme designed to assist Early Childhood Services and caregivers to attend to safety and security issues when using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with the very young.

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