BT's online safety drive: Telecoms giant to teach parents and pupils how to use the Internet

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Thousands of children and their parents around Britain are to be taught how to stay safe online by volunteers from BT visiting their schools.

The scheme, launched today with the backing of UNICEF UK, will involve 600 employees at the telecoms company giving practical lessons on Internet safety to teachers, parents and pupils.

The programme is being rolled out nationally after a pilot project involving children at Cannon Lane Primary School in Pinner, north west London. Teacher Julie Lunnon said online safety had become a “critical issue” for schools.

BT said the scheme would reach 600 UK schools over the next three years, involving up to 21,000 children and parents. Once teachers have been trained to deliver the workshops themselves, it is hoped the project will expand further.

Actress Keeley Hawes, who is a supporter of UNICEF UK, told The Independent she was supporting the campaign because of her own experiences as a mother of three children.

“My 13-year-old is at an age where’s he’s been using the Internet for quite a long time… sometimes you feel as though you should know these things, because you’re the parent you should know your way around the Internet and your way around the security settings – but actually my son is more savvy with the computer than me,” she said.

The Line of Duty actress added that she supported the Government’s “opt in” policy on web safety, under which Internet Service Providers ask their subscribers whether they would like to be able to access pornographic or other adult content.

“I’d support anything that makes me feel more confident about leaving any of my children in front of a computer on their own,” she said.