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Schools to give lessons in internet safety

'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' advice compulsory by 2011

Primary school children will be taught how to stay safe online under changes to the national curriculum.

The internet safety lessons, which will become compulsory from 2011, are part of the government's 'Click Clever, Click Safe' voluntary code for internet safety, which has been drawn up by the Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) following recommendations from clinical psychologist Tanya Byron.

The 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' campaign is a 'green cross code' for the web and will aim to teach children the importance of not revealing personal information online, along with blocking unwanted messages and reporting inappropriate behaviour.

More than 100 web companies including Google and social network Facebook have agreed to comply with the code.

Google told the BBC: "We're strong supporters of the 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' educational campaign as another way to get this message out and help young people to remember how to stay safe online".

Steve Furnell, senior IEEE member and head of the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research at the University of Plymouth said: "This is a very welcome and timely development, which gives online safety the prominence that it deserves as a necessary life skill for future generations". 

"Embedding the understanding at this early stage will help to ensure that children are aware of the risks and what they can do about them."

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