Advice for staying safe online is being delivered to hundreds of primary school children across Tamworth over the next two weeks as part of activities surrounding the 2018 Safer Internet Day and ahead of a special half-term event at Ankerside Shopping Centre.
Tamworth Borough Council’s Play and Education Officer will be giving 25 talks at schools and parents evenings in the two weeks leading up to half term to share important online safety advice with children and parents.
Further guidance will be available to parents and children of all ages at a special event at Ankerside Shopping Centre on February 20, when experts from a variety of organisations will be on hand to share helpful tips and answer questions on all aspects of online safety, including cyber bullying and child sexual exploitation. This will include representatives from Tamworth Borough Council, the police, NSPCC, Teen Spirit and O2 – who will provide technical support for setting up devices and parental controls.
The event, which has been organised by Tamworth Community Safety Partnership in conjunction with Ankerside Shopping Centre and O2, takes place between 10am and 2pm and people are invited to visit the stand at any time during that period.
Although Tamworth Borough Council’s Play and Education Officers visit schools throughout the year to talk about online safety, sessions are often concentrated around the annual Safer Internet Day, which this year took place on February 6.
The online safety presentations are aimed at pupils in Years 5 and 6 to share important safety advice and raise awareness of potential dangers at a time when they might be starting to use the internet more independently. Sessions explore how children are using the internet, how they can keep themselves safe online and whether they would know who to speak to if they were faced with online bullying.
Cllr Stephen Doyle, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “The internet is a valuable resource for young people growing up in this technological age. However, it can also pose risks and dangers which children and their parents need to be aware of.
“These risks can be mitigated as long as users know what to be aware of and the measures they can take to protect themselves online. Parents play an important role in ensuring their children know the dangers, such as not sharing personal information, creating strong passwords and being aware that people can lie about their identities online.
“While we are talking to children about this all year round, Safer Internet Day does raise the profile of the issue and we take advantage of this to spread the safety message as widely as possible. The event at Ankerside Shopping Centre on February 20 will provide people with the opportunity to get all the latest safety information and advice, as well as practical support from O2 in setting up devices for children to use more safely. I would encourage people to visit and find out more.”
Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said he is looking forward to raising awareness of how adults as well as children can use the internet more safely.
“Here at Ankerside, our O2 store is extremely active in helping the public understand technology and the various devices that are available,” he said.
“More importantly, O2 will be advising shoppers on how to set up devices for children, as well as assemble parental controls on their own phones, tablets and desktops that little ones use for games.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity to partner with Tamworth Community Safety Partnership and O2 to bring knowledge of the risks of browsing the internet, as well as how to avoid the chances of danger whilst online and we’re sure the event will be a huge success with the people of Tamworth.”
Safer Internet Day is co-ordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre and this year has the theme ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: a better internet starts with you’.
Information and safety advice is available from a number of resources including: