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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Child Internet Safety conference

I attended the Child Internet Safety conference today, organised by Holyrood Events. The theme of the conference was online child protection and representatives of various child protection and education agencies were present.

The keynote speaker was the Minister for Children and Early Years, who opened the event with a talk about the Scottish Government's views on child protection.

His message was clear: the Internet is a vital part of contemporary culture and will not go away but we need to protect children from its potential dangers.

The Minister was followed by a man in the news right now; Jim Gamble, the Chief Executive of CEOP.

Jim outlined the efforts CEOP were making to track down offenders. He emphasised that every picture of child pornography was, in fact, a crime scene depicting child sexual abuse. In fact, he argued against the use of the term "child pornography" (preferring "child sexual abuse") on the grounds that it could be seen as normalising the behaviour.

My own talk was about SQA's child protection qualifications: specifically, the current Internet Safety National Unit and the forthcoming PDA in Child Online Protection.
Child Internet Safety (Sqa)
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I was delighted by the interest shown in the PDA, with several people waiting behind to ask how they could get involved. SQA was the only awarding body at the event, which probably confirms our UK leadership in this area (a search on Google, implies a world leadership too).

I was pleased to note that no-one was suggesting that the Internet was a bad thing -- quite the opposite. It was (some) people who were the problem; not the technology. Just about everyone recognised the educational, social and professional benefits of the technology.

Contact Caroline for more information about SQA's child protection awards.

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