Security software vendor ESET has launched the UK’s first awards scheme to recognise individuals and organisations that are leading initiatives to educate the public about internet safety.
The scheme, named the CyberSmart Awards, is supported by the UK Safer Internet Centre – the organisation behind Safer Internet Day, which starts today (February 5th).
The Awards have been set up in response to research which shows that millions of children are missing out on crucial online safety training.
Research conducted by OnePoll shows that 50 per cent of those aged nine to 16 have had no formal internet safety teaching in school.
Technical director of ESET UK, Mark James, said: “Online safety is the modern day ‘birds and bees’ conversation; it evokes dread and nervousness in parents who feel ill-prepared to teach their child the dos and don’ts of the online world.
“The net has brought a tremendous benefit to every aspect of daily life and we want to encourage people of all ages to engage, explore, learn and experience the value it can bring – however, education is fundamental to keep everyone armed with the knowledge of how to browse safely.”
The research also shows that 40 per cent of children clear their browsing history to keep it hidden, and almost a third have created online accounts that parents don’t know about.
Head of the UK Safer Internet Centre, David Wright, said: “Just like the real world, the online environment is constantly changing – there are new and evolving platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Google+, and different ways of accessing the internet, through phones and tablet devices. It creates a complex landscape that is challenging to navigate safely. That’s why sharing best practises is more important than ever before.”