UK online centres
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Parents urged to get online for online safety tips

Do your kids know more about computers and the internet than you do? Do you worry about them using the world wide web? Well you’re certainly not alone, and the thousands of web-wary parents out there are being encouraged to find out more about online safety by getting online themselves.

With internet safety hitting the headlines almost daily, it’s hardly surprising around 60% of UK parents admit to worrying about their children online. A survey from UK online centres found that while three quarters of Mums and Dads knew their kids were regular internet users, half of them didn’t think their internet or IT skills were good enough to supervise or assist with surfing. Topping the list of concerns were internet predators, inappropriate images and fraudsters, but other worries included cyber-bullying and the information children were sharing through social networking sites.

Now parents can learn more about all sorts of internet safety issues – at their nearest UK online centre. UK online centres across the country help hundreds of people get online every day with myguide – the easy way to use the internet. They’ve just launched a new myguide taster course – Using the internet safely – to give anyone worried about internet safety an introduction to some of the potential pitfalls and the best ways to avoid them. The course includes basic information on computer security, protecting personal data and helping children stay safe online.

Managing Director of UK online centres, Helen Milner, explains: “It may seem a bit odd asking off-line parents to get on-line to learn more about internet safety, but actually it makes perfect sense. Nothing is half as scary when you know a bit about it, and the best way to put your fears to rest and understand what your children are doing is to give the internet a go for yourself. With myguide using the internet is easy. Everything is made really simple and intuitive – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never even touched a computer before because with myguide you can start from the beginning – set up and email account, search for information and even learn how to use a keyboard and mouse.

“If you know a bit about the internet you can log onto http://www.myguide.gov.uk/ and try myguide and all its courses for yourself - with maybe a bit of help from your internet-savvy kids! But if you’re a bit more nervous, you can go into your nearest UK online centre and get as much help as you need to get going, get to grips with computers and the internet, and now get an introduction to online safety issues. Make sure you and your family get to make the most of the internet together, safely and happily.”

Minister for Schools Jim Knight MP welcomed the launch of the new course. He added: “Schools today are populated by digital natives, children and young people for whom using the internet is intuitive, easy, and an invaluable support to their learning. Parents naturally want to help their children make the most of the internet but many of them on the other hand are digital novices. myguide is carefully designed for all those people who still lack the confidence and ability to use the web . It is proving very effective with early myguide users from all generations by tackling head-on the traditional complexity of the internet. Now it is tackling internet safety, a common concern especially for those who are not so internet-savvy. And it will make a helpful contribution for example to the planned joined-up internet safety service recommended by the Byron review.I hope this will give many parents the confidence to help their children make effective, safe and balanced use of the internet.”

Mum of three Helen Boffey, 36, didn’t know much at all about computers and the internet – let alone about internet safety - before she found her way into her nearby UK online centre. She says: “Because I want the best for my kids I don’t want them to miss out on all the good bits of the internet because of the bad bits. I know lots of parents who say they’re not going to let their kids online because of all these internet monsters and things. It’s easy to forget that there are risks in the real world too, and we already help our kids steer clear of them and stay safe – that’s what parents do. The trouble is you can’t do that on the internet unless you know how to use it.

“Computers and the internet are going to be such a big part of our kids’ lives. I’ve got an 18 year old who uses them all the time, and even though my twin girls are only five they’re already using them in the classroom! I’m so pleased I’ve now got the skills to help them, monitor what they’re doing, and just talk to them about it. I’d say to other parents that learning about computers and the internet is absolutely key. You might never stop worrying completely but you will feel more in control - and if I can get to grips with it all, anyone can!”

Don’t let safety fears hold you or your family back. To follow in Helen’s footsteps, log onto http://www.myguide.gov.uk/ find the new internet safety course, or find your nearest UK online centre by calling 0800 77 1234.

For more information about this press release, please contact Abi Stevens, UK online centres, 0778 666 0689 – astevens@ufi.com


Notes to Editors:

  • Research from ICM Internet Concerns Survey, December 2007.
  • UK online centres provide millions of people with access to technology and support in using it. They offer free or low cost access to the internet and email, deliver online courses and encourage people to progress onto further learning.
  • UK online centres are managed by Ufi, the organisation also behind learndirect. For more information please visit www.ukonlinecentres.com

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