Liverpool youngsters pioneer online safety scheme

Internet savvy youngsters are helping their classmates stay safe online, thanks to a pioneering scheme launched by an expoliceman.
Whitefield Primary School is the first in Liverpool to sign up to the eCadets scheme, where youngsters advise other pupils on how to protect themselves online.
The scheme, which runs in 120 schools across England and Wales, was the brainchild of former policeman Henry Platten and his wife Danielle, who already run successful company eTreble9, advising about online security for companies and individuals.
Every school that signs up to the scheme aims to have up to eight pupil strained as eCadets, who will advise fellow students how to protect themselves when browsing the internet, using social media on smart phones and tablets, or playing online games.
Henry said: “As well as keeping youngsters safe, the eCadet scheme has been designed to help schools meet targets in relation to online safety, health and wellbeing, literacy and numeracy and personal development. “We know that children can find it difficult to talk openly to parents or teachers about an issue like this but they are much more comfortable turning to their friends and peers for advice.

“We are there in the background to provide support and advice, providing a safety net should something come to light that needs adult intervention. Nursery teacher Marie Beale, IT coordinator at Whitefield Primary School in Boundary Lane, first came across the scheme through Twitter and realised that it would be extremely useful in her school, which has 250 pupils and is keen to prepare them for a future in a world where internet use is commonplace.
“We know that many children use smart phones, iPods and tablets – in a recent school assembly, many said they were on Facebook, even children as young as Year 2, though they are not meant to join until they are 13.
“They know enough to give a wrong birth-date, or an older sibling sets them up.
“Many also use X-Boxes, and play online – so they can make friends with anybody around the world, without knowing who they really are. We wanted to make them aware of the dangers of being online and teach them how to stay safe.
“Being part of eCadets will help address these issues, and its important knowledge they will take with them as they move up into secondary school and beyond,” added Mrs Beale.

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