New programme launched to promote online safety in the UK

A new government-backed Internet safety programme has been launched in the UK today, designed to help students and parents better understand online safety and responsibility.

Be-Smart, an initiative run by the security software firm Trend Micro, hopes to highlight the potential dangers faced by children accessing the Internet.

Related: Safer Internet Day – Many parents unaware of online dangers faced by children

Research published last week by Kaspersky Lab revealed that as many as two million children under the age of sixteen have been approached by strangers online without their parent's knowledge.

"Sometimes students can be the best teachers, particularly when it comes to areas of emerging technology", said Rik Ferguson, Vice President of security research at Trend Micro.

"Be-Smart aims to give senior students, no-nonsense information to raise awareness around the pitfalls of irresponsible or ill-considered behaviour online."

The Be-Smart programme involves selecting certain students to become mentors who can then offer guidance and support to their peers and younger students about Internet safety.

Related: Half of children receive no Internet safety education

Parents and teachers will also be given advice on subjects such as sexting, illegal downloading and cyber-bullying.

"The internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise," said Security Minister James Brokenshire. "It has created a wealth of opportunities, for students in particular, but with these opportunities there are also threats.

"As a government we are taking the fight to cyber criminals wherever they are in the world."