Ministers Promote Cyber Security In Schools

The NI Executive has marked Safer Internet Day 2020 by highlighting the potential dangers of using digital technology in a bid to promote its safe use among children and young people.

Under the theme "together for a better internet," Education Minister Peter Weir and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill reinforced the need for a responsible and positive approach to the internet.

Speaking at a visit to Ashfield Girls' School in Belfast, Minister Weir said: "We all know that the internet is a rich source of information and entertainment which provides many new and exciting opportunities for teaching and learning. However, it is vital that we are aware of the potential dangers and ensure that young people are protected and educated on appropriate and responsible usage."

While the C2K system operated within local schools is designed to protect online safety, children and young people are open to a range of potential dangers through personal devices and the use of social media.
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Care providers, both at school and at home, therefore have a part to play in protecting children online.

Minister Weir said: "Teachers and parents play a crucial role in supporting children to navigate the risks and make the most of technology. Teachers can give pupils opportunities to use and create positive online content and at the same time give them the confidence and the skills to seek help should they encounter problems online. Parents can help by engaging with their children and encouraging them to talk about any concerns."

Michelle O'Neill reinforced the message during a visit to Holy Trinity Primary School in Belfast. She said: "We all have a collective responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of our children and young people. In today's digital age, keeping them safe online is a hugely important part of this. We need to help children to understand and protect against the risks of using the internet, as well as teach them about the importance of being kind and respectful to each other online.

"Education for young people and their parents about the possible dangers of being online, and how to avoid them, is key."


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