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Friday, 31 October 2014

Live webchat helps kids to avoid dangers online

A GROUP of students did their bit to help keep other young people safe on the net.

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DOWDALES SCHOOL: PC Michael Brown, head of lower school Lisa Massicks, Jeff Haslam of Safety for Cumbria with Dowdales pupils PC Michelle Millburn (back row). Glen Ritchie, Matthew Payne, Andy Madden, Isaac Fowler and Evening Mail’s James Hemsworth, (front row) taking part in a webchat on European Safer Internet Day at Dowdales school, Dalton JOE RILEY REF: 50016317B000

A volunteer team of 13 and 14-year-olds from Dowdales School answered questions from pupils from various schools and parents, in a webchat highlighting online dangers and safety steps.

The Dalton secondary school held the busy advice session as part of European Safer Internet Day yesterday (TuesFeb8) lunchtime with the Evening Mail, Cumbria County Council and the police.

The theme of the campaign was targeting issues associated with social networking sites and gaming.

Children and adults questioned aspects of Facebook safety and cyber bullying.

One person asked: Do you have Facebook or MSN and do you feel safe when you use it? The student team of Andy Madden, Matthew Payne, Isaac Fowler, all 13, and Glen Ritchie, 14, responded: “Yes, we all use them. We feel safe because we take the following precautions:

Set your Facebook profile to ‘friends only’

Don’t add or accept requests from people you don’t know

Don’t reply to personal messages from people you don’t know

Report anything worrying or that makes you feel uncomfortable

Learn how to block or delete people from your friends list

Do not give out any personal details online

Add the CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) app to your Facebook profile.”

Andy said social networking sites appeal to young people because they are free and easy to use. He said: “The webchat has been really worthwhile to answer questions and help with online safety.

“All the questions were important, but an interesting one was about Facebook and MSN.

“We feel we keep safe because we don’t add people that we don’t know.

“We see Facebook as a chance to chat with friends only.”

Lisa Massicks, e-safety coordinator and head of lower school at Dowdales, said: “We have had some really good questions and answers. At Dowdales we embed internet safety into the curriculum as the internet is part of the students’ everyday lives.”

Jeff Haslam, the e-safety adviser for Cumbria and PC Mike Brown and PC Michelle Milburn, who helped with the event, said it was good to see a school engaging in internet safety in this way.

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