Email for pupils shelved over safety fear

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A plan to give all Welsh schoolchildren their own e-mail addresses has been dropped due to fears they could be tracked down by paedophiles.

A Welsh Assembly spokesman said: "There was concern about security and safety. We were worried that if children went into internet chatrooms their e-mail addresses would be available. It was thought that internet access for pupils rather than individual e-mail addresses was the priority."

The decision to postpone the plans indefinitely was made just days before the policy was due to be implemented. Officials insisted that fears surrounding the issue were genuine and had not been raised to give them more time to install the facility in Welsh schools.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, warned recently that paedophiles using the internet to try to lure children into meeting them could be jailed.

A government taskforce may also suggest the implementation of a new internet content rating system and educational programmes to teach children about safe surfing. The taskforce was established as part of the Government's response to a report on child safety.