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Should safer internet skills be taught in kindergarten?

Categories: Community, Science & Technology

A British charity that offers counselling to children by phone and online says children as young as five should get lessons in internet safety. 

Kids Internet 220.jpgThe U.K. National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children says it will hold assemblies in every primary school in the country to tell kids how to stay safe in a time when internet-enabled devices are part of their everyday lives. 

"Young people tell us they are experiencing all sorts of new forms of abuse on scale never before seen," Claire Lilley of the NSPCC told the BBC

The society operates the ChildLine service in the U.K., which offers confidential counselling over the phone, by online chat and over email. 

ChildLine says it took about 3,745 calls about abuse over the internet and cellphones in 2012, with most of the callers aged between 12 and 15.

It said 641 of those calls were about online pornography and about 250 of the callers said they were being pressured into sex online. 

Feb. 5 is Safer Internet Day in Europe and the day of awareness of online safety has spread around the world, including Canada. 

In Canada, the focus recently has been on cyberbullying, with the death Amanda Todd in October bringing the issue to the fore. 

Law enforcement officers have told CBC News that online anonymity and unresolved questions about legal jurisdiction present a challenge in identifying and stopping online predators.  

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the organization that fronts Safer Internet Day in Canada, offers internet safety tools for parents of children as young as five. 

Should lessons in online safety start in kindergarten? Let us know what you think. 

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: internet, law, parenting, POV

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