INTERNET-savvy youngsters have helped launch a pioneering project aimed at keeping schoolchildren safe online.
Every school in Flintshire will have at least two pupils trained as special ‘eCadets’, who will advise fellow students how to protect themselves from dangers of the internet.
Flintshire Council is the first local authority in the UK to sign up to the programme, which caters for children using social media on computers, smart phones, tablets, or when playing online games.
Yesterday’s launch at County Hall in Mold was timed to coincide with World Safer Internet Day and proved popular with teachers and pupils alike.
Mountain Lane Primary School teacher Rachel Shaw said: “The scheme is pitched just right for the age groups – it’s not too simplified but doesn’t use too much jargon.
“I’ve got two teenage children so I know how fast the online world changes.
“The pupils share their knowledge with their classmates, their family and with us as teachers.
“This is flipping the classroom – teachers are learning as much from the children as they are from us.”
Dominic Seton, aged nine, who will act as an eCadet at Cornist Park Primary School in Flint, said: “I’ve learnt about not giving away too much information out online, making sure my picture settings are private and not using my real name as a user name when I am playing games online.”
ECadet Megan Butcher, 10, of Buckley’s Southdown Primary School, said: “I realise that when I go on things like Twitter I shouldn’t use my real photo for my profile, but my pet instead.
“And I have to be careful that I keep information private.”
Fellow Southdown safety leader James Butcher, 11, an X-Box fan, said: “It’s easy to trip up and give out information, so I’ll be advising people to make sure they don’t give away too much without realising.”
The scheme was the brainchild of Henry and Danielle Platten, of Hawarden-based internet experts eTreble9.
They said: “The eCadet scheme links in with the targets for schools set by the schools inspectorate Estyn and Healthy Schools, such as online safety, health and well-being, literacy and numeracy and personal development.
“We know that employers want recruits who understand the internet and realise its potential – and possible pitfalls – so this is giving the pupils extra skills.”