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Get Safe Online helps young people ‘Connect with Respect’ on Safer Internet Day

This Safer Internet Day (February 5th), not-for-profit organisation Get Safe Online is urging school children to pledge to online safety responsibilities through the launch of its ‘Cyber Pro-Prefect challenge’.

Sponsored by Trend Micro and in association with Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the ‘Cyber Pro-Prefect challenge’ aims to encourage safer and more responsible use of the internet and social networking at a time when 56% of the population have been targeted by online criminals.

Piloting in four schools, the challenge will kick-off at a special online safety assembly run by Get Safe Online.  During this time five pupils per year group will be allocated to be ‘Cyber Pro-Prefects’ and take online safety responsibility for their year group. Their challenge will be to pass on internet safety advice from the assembly to their peers, who will in turn pledge to these internet safety guidelines. Those who take the pledge will receive a multi-colour ‘Connect with Respect’ bracelet to show they will adhere to responsible internet use.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online commented: “In today’s world the internet is consumed across a range of devices and locations - it’s a real challenge for parents to be able to be there all the time to  supervise their children’s online activity. We launched ‘Cyber Pro-Prefect challenge’ to help educate young people about internet safety and empower them to take responsibility for their own safety. In the future we hope that all schools have a ‘Cyber Pro-Prefect’ so the next generation can be as savvy as possible when it comes to beating cyber criminals.”

Rik Ferguson, VP of security research, Trend Micro commented: "It’s great to see kids being directly involved in taking responsibility for online safety. In most cases, they are more internet savvy than their parents, but this is the generation we often refer to redefining the notion of privacy. I hope that initiatives like this will make sure that redefinition is a change for the better."

Get Safe Online has outlined some simple guidelines to help young people stay safe online...

- Protect your identity - never give away personal information online without our parents’ permission.

- Stay private -get your parents to have a check the settings of any social networking sites to check the privacy settings are at the highest setting and that you are not sharing too much information.

- Don’t meet strangers - Never agree to arrange to get together with someone you have ‘met’ online without checking with your parents first.

- Report behavior - tell your parents right away if you come across any information that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way. Likewise, ensure your never post comments that are abusive or may cause offence to either individuals or groups of society.

- Choose strong passwords- make sure you password protect your devices with a strong password consisting of numbers and letters. Change these regularly and only share them with your parents.

- Update your software - always let your parents know if your antivirus and spyware software tell you it’s time to. update

For parents wanting to help their children stay safe, here are some further tips...

- Stay private – ensure your child understands the risks of sharing personal information online and that they never share any of the personal information without your permission

- Opt for parent settings - use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package and block pop-ups and spam emails. You should also consider setting up a family e-mail account which can be used specifically to register for websites, competitions etc.  

- Choose strong passwords – make sure you have activated password protection on your child’s mobile phone or tablet and include random letters and numbers to keep them strong.

- Protect your money – ensure your child cannot gain access to an online shop or other website where your card details are stored. If your child is paying for something with your permission, make sure they check to make sure the padlock symbol is displayed in the browser frame and  the web address begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

- Be safe and social – make sure you keep your child’s profile private and use the highest security settings so you can control who sees what and that they report anything untoward to yourself or another adult.

- Don’t worry – the internet is a fantastic tool and with the right guidelines in place there is no reason why it can’t be used to its full advantage. If you are worried about anything at all go to www.GetSafeOnline for further advice.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, is available for further comment and interview on online security. Please do let us know if we can set up an interview or if you require any further information.

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About Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org), which is now entering its seventh year, is the UK’s national internet security awareness initiative. A joint partnership between the Government, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Ofcom and private sector sponsors from the worlds of technology, communication, retail and finance, the initiative continues to educate, inform and raise awareness of internet security issues to encourage confident, safe use of the internet. GetSafeOnline.org is supported by the Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Home Office, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), National Fraud Authority & Action Fraud, Ofcom, HSBC, Microsoft, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Gumtree, Trend Micro, Symantec and PayPal.

About Tony Neate, CEO, GetSafeOnline.org

Tony Neate is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Get Safe Online – the UK’s leading source of unbiased, authoritative and easy-to-understand information on protection against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online.

Few people can boast as much experience in cyber crime. A 30-year Police career saw Tony progress from South Wales Police’s Commercial Fraud Squad dealing largely with computer, investment and credit card fraud, to being responsible for industry liaison within the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, remaining there when it became a part of SOCA. 2006 saw Tony retire from the Police and take up his current position.

An engaging and entertaining speaker, Tony regularly presents to conferences, forums and meetings both in the UK and overseas. He frequently appears on television and radio and gives interviews to national newspapers and magazines.

About the research

The survey of 3,150 adults in the UK was conducted by market researchers OnePoll.com in October 2012.

Founded in 2006, OnePoll is a division of the SWNS Group and boasts a 100,000-strong UK panel and access to over 1 million worldwide.  Working with some of the UK's largest marketing, advertising and PR agencies, as well as with a range of well known high-street and online brands, OnePoll helps them conduct robust research, gain valuable insights and secure widespread press coverage.   OnePoll employs members of ESOMAR and adhere to the MRS code of conduct.