Consistent approach to e-safety training

Police officers are being trained to promote “a consistent approach to e-safety messages” for children and young people as part of an online awareness programme.

Jul 5, 2017

Police officers are being trained to promote “a consistent approach to e-safety messages” for children and young people as part of an online awareness programme. ‘VIRTUAL REALity’ is a new e-safety training package launched by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) that sets out the key e-safety messages to deliver to children and young people aged between five and 18 years, and also to educate parents/adults. Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch, said to date more than 100 officers had been trained to deliver the e-safety package to various groups across Northern Ireland. “With the ever-changing way in which children and young people communicate it is imperative that we have this multi-agency initiative which ensures that everyone involved in the protection of children and young people have the consistent approach to e-safety messages,” he said. There are three separate training packages – for primary, post-primary and young people and parents/adults. Each of the packages discusses the risks involved in online activity and includes information on privacy, cyber-bullying, grooming, gaming and social media use. “The three packages have been developed in collaboration with the SBNI E-Safety Forum, which comprises members from a range of partner agencies,” said Det Chief Supt Clarke. The aim of the programme is to provide training to 1,000 safeguarding trainers and child protection leads in voluntary, community and statutory organisations across Northern Ireland. Interim independent chair of the SBNI, Bernie McNally, said it was “committed to doing all that it can to help keep children and young people and their parents and carers safe when they are online”. “As such I am very pleased that the board has produced VIRTUAL REALity, which can be used by child safeguarding trainers and child protection leads across the voluntary, community and statutory sectors, to provide key e-safety messages in a consistent way, to all age groups,” she added. The SBNI is hosting a number of training events across Northern Ireland on the use of VIRTUAL REALity.

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