Zip It, Block It, Flag It could become the Green Cross Code of the Internet following the launch this week of the UK Child Internet Safety Strategy.
Alongside the launch of a new digital code for young people’s use of the Internet: Zip It, Block It, Flag It was the announcement that Internet Safety is to become part of the national curriculum for Primary school children (it is already part of the curriculum for Secondary schools) from September 2011.
This is in recognition that the Internet is an important part of young people’s lives inside and outside of education. In education ICT has held a central place since the launch of the National Grid for Learning in 1998 with this recently reinforced by the Rose Review of the Primary school curriculum which further highlighted the importance of the educational uses of ICT to primary school children.
Outside of education most children have some level of access to ICT in the home and children are going ‘online’ at a younger age. Both parents and children report safety concerns with using the Internet and recent research by the DCSF found that just over half of those children who experienced harmful or inappropriate content took some action.
Fears about Internet Safety are frequently voiced in the media in relation to the use of the Internet in the grooming and sexual abuse of children. The Strategy therefore also details plans to update the ‘cyber skills’ of those working with children and provide guidance to Internet providers on how to ensure that children do not access inappropriate content. The Zip It, Block It, Flag It motto is designed as a reminder to young people to keep themselves safe online, while the CEOP reporting button, through which people can report any ‘abuse’ or inappropriate content they encounter online is to be further developed.