MP3 players resources
MP3 Players
Buying Tips


Byron Review Overlooks Existing Course

"Safer Children in a Digital World", the report of the Byron Review issued on 27th March 2008, has been well-received, and deservedly so. It offers a balanced view which takes account of both the benefits and the dangers of children using the internet, and it makes several useful and practical suggestions which could be implemented to minimise the dangers. However, the report suffers from one glaring omission - it completely fails to mention that a certificated Internet Safety course has been available from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) since 2006 and is widely taught in Scottish schools. It is believed to be the only course of its type developed by a national awarding body in the EU. The course isn't only for schools - it's also offered to adults, including parents, teachers and youth workers through evening classes in many further education colleges. Strathclyde Police Force has used it for training police cadets and it has also been offered to around 4000 pupils in Manchester schools.

A complete online package of teaching and assessment materials is available from SQA and a purpose-written textbook entitled "Internet Safety Skills", has been published by Scotland's leading educational publishers, Leckie and Leckie. The omission of the course from the report is baffling, to say the least, particularly as mention is given to various other examples of good practice, including one from Ireland. Throughout the report Dr. Byron emphasises the importance of improved education for both children and parents, yet she somehow overlooks the fact that a suitable course, complete with all the required materials, is already available. Every Education Authority in the UK could adopt this course immediately, instead of waiting, perhaps for years, until alternative courses are developed.

This action could reduce the exposure of millions of children to online dangers and increase parents' knowledge of Internet hazards and the precautions that should be taken to minimise them. The SQA course is interesting, engaging, and highly practical. It is designed to provide information about the safety factors which need to be taken into account when using the Internet, and give practical experience in taking the relevant precautions. It is suitable for a wide range of individuals, particularly young people, parents and mature Internet users.

The first part of the course examines a range of Internet threats including malicious programs (such as viruses, trojans, worms, adware, spyware and rogue diallers), hackers, spam, phishing, identity theft and emerging threats such as ransomware. It also looks at threats to user safety including grooming, inappropriate behaviour and cyberbullying, and highlights the fact that these threats can appear in a variety of contexts, eg: social networking sites, chat rooms, e-mail and instant messaging. The second part examines the safety precautions which should be taken including anti-virus and e-mail filtering software, firewalls and Internet security suites. It also looks at precautions for maintaining user safety including proxy servers, content labelling and filtering, monitoring and reporting user behaviour and withholding personal information.

The third section covers the legal aspects of using the Internet, including copyright, data protection, digital rights management and software licensing (such as freeware and shareware), legal constraints on the construction of websites, including disability discrimination legislation, and legislation relating to illegal content such as terrorist, pornographic and racist material. It also discusses child protection legislation which prohibits grooming and inappropriate behaviour towards minors. The fourth and final section gives students practical experience in taking appropriate safety precautions.

They are expected to demonstrate that they can install and configure anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, firewalls, spam filters and internet security suites and to show that they can take precautions for maintaining user safety, including content filtering, proxy servers, monitoring and reporting user behaviour and withholding personal information. Many people may be satisfied simply to follow the content of the course, but if they wish they can also be assessed and, if successful, be awarded a certificate by SQA. The assessment consists of a short multiple choice test, taken online, and a log recording the practical task carried out during the course, which can be submitted in the form of a blog or an online portfolio.

Ted Hastings is an eduacation and IT consultant with more than 35 years of experience. He writes a popular blog entitled Surf Safely. The Internet Safety course is available online from Millennium City Academy.

MP3 Players

Spyware Watching You - Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from a friend who told me he'd been the victim of a "spyware" attack that left him shaking at his loss of privacy.

Producing boxshots as well as ebook covers is now a no brainer - A good package makes a good sale.

Calculating Your Early Repayment Options with a Mortgage Calculator - If you own your own home or are planning to buy a home, you should become very familiar with a great little tool called a mortgage calculator.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of an Automatic Garage Door - When you are deciding to buy a new garage door you certainly have a lot of choices to make.

Free To Air Satellite Receivers - The possibilities that satellite television has bough to the world of television entertainment are mind boggling, you can pretty much play god with the television now.

© Copyright All rights reserved.
Unauthorized duplication in part or whole strictly prohibited by international copyright law.