Dangers of Internet Use and Modern Technology
The use of information technology such as computers and mobile phones can be of enormous value in terms of education entertainment and safety. Unfortunately such technologies also create risks for youngsters which we need to be aware of if we want to be effective in ‘Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children’. A recent NSPCC survey found that 54% of children had an ‘unwanted’ experience whilst on-line.
Bullying: Children can sent threatening, abusive or offensive messaging and material. Simularly such messages and material relating to an individual can be sent to any number of other individuals.
Social networking sites such as bebo, myspace and piczo: Children may put themselves at risk by communicating with adult individuals who wisk to harm them but present themselves as a friendly individual of their generation – grooming.
Children’s own web sites: Children have created their own web sites with imappropriate images of themselves plus contact details.
Images: What starts life as an innocent images can be altered in to one that is definitely not innocent. These again can be shared with any number of other individuals or put on the net where it may be beyond recall.
More dangerously, children have recorded their own or others sexual activity. This is a very serious criminal offence and youngsters need to know that it is illegal to:
- create a sexual image of someone under sixteen
- possess a sexual image of someone under sixteen
- distribute a sexual image of someone under sixteen
Youngsters need to appreciate that such imagery is difficult to control, and could lead to them having a serious criminal record that could have major implications for their future employment.
The technology is constantly evolving and there can be no doubt that new risks for children will appear in that process. In Blaenau Gwent all schools have signed up to an ‘E-safety Policy’ and the LSCB is developing a similar policy for the wider community.