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Safer Internet Day: Children need educating from age of 5, say campaigners

Child protection groups are campaigning for Internet safety education to be given to children from a much younger age than the current norm.

With today marking the tenth anniversary of the annual Safer Internet Day, the BBC says calls are being made for online safety lessons to be arranged for children as young as five.

Among the campaigners is Childline, which says it received 3,745 calls relating to abuse via Internet or mobile communication last year. The charity is set to hold assemblies in every UK primary school to teach children how to protect themselves in the digital world.

Claire Lilley, who is a senior analyst at the NSPCC, said "We are facing an e-safety time bomb."

"Young people tell us they are experiencing all sorts of new forms of abuse on a scale never before seen,” she added. "The Internet and mobile phones are now part and parcel of young people's everyday lives. They are the first generation who have never known a world without them.

"The benefits are huge, both socially and educationally, but so too are the dangers."

It’s an issue that has already been addressed at government level this year, with the Cabinet Office announcing the launch of a cyber crime education programme aimed at raising awareness of online threats among the old and young.

But with the increase of child protection software and other digital tools, many parents are taking the matter into their own hands. We recently asked how far is too far when it comes to monitoring children’s use of the web.