Staying safe online

It must be the conference season.  Do we have such a thing or are conferences all year-round affairs?  Perhaps it is just that I happen to be going to more at the moment.  Next week we have our schools’ conference and in the middle of March I will be at a regional ‘Enabling Safe Business’ event put on by the North East ICT Managers.  I think the SOCITM spring conference is coming up in April.

I’m heavily involved in the first two and haven’t decided whether or not to go to the third.

I will be presenting at the two in March, in fact I think I am acting as master of ceremonies with online safety and security as the hot topic.  Keeping children safe is a huge concern in this ever connected world (indeed, keeping adults safe is a concern as well) yet we need to get the balance right between allowing access to the wonderful things that are available online and being protected from the more dangerous elements.

I guess that all society has its darker side and the internet is no different except that it is much more accessible, much easier to disguise who you are and of course much quicker.  The response from those who are responsible for looking after young people though ranges from denial of the issue, through the draconian removal of access to the internet or a completely liberal approach.

Parents clearly have a role to play.  Although social media is supposed to be age restricted a recent story in the papers showed how much this is abused.  About six out of ten children have used one or more social networks by the time they are ten years old.  The medium is simply too interesting and attractive and by the time a child is in their teens they have already moved from viewing content to being active participants.

So at the schools conference, which is aimed at anyone involved in learning, we are having an e-safety, security and safeguarding question and answer panel.  Graham and Steve will be joining me along with the founder of eCadets as well as the Durham Constabulary Cyber Crime Team and North East Regional Organised Crime Unit.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

It is going to be at Durham County Cricket Club and we have lots of people signed up.  There are still places however.  Just search for #DCCICT16

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