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Leeds girl, 9, sees porn on school computer - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

A mother has called for changes to internet access for Leeds schoolchildren after her nine-year-old daughter viewed pornographic images in the classroom.

The pupil at Chapel Allerton primary was given extra time in her school computer room as a reward for good classwork.

She logged on through Leeds Learning Network, run by Leeds City Council to provide pupils and teachers online learning with safe internet access. The service costs a small primary school 5,500 a year.

Following a conversion involving other pupils she overheard, the curious youngster typed the word "sex" into Google's search engine. She was directed towards videos sold by Amazon. When the girl clicked on a suggested link, images of half-dressed women in sexual positions flashed up on her computer screen.

"I was astounded that school children are able to access these sort of images," said her mother, who wishes to remain anonymous. "You would think they would have strict filtering systems in place.

"When I suggested the word 'sex' should be blocked, I was told that school pupils might need to type in the word if they were doing a project such as the difference between girls and boys. I think changes need to be made, and quickly."

Most schools in Leeds use Leeds Learning Network and it has more than 120,000 pupils, school staff and education worker users. The network can be accessed from any computer, at home, work or school by logging on with individual username and passwords.

Its own website warns of the potentials dangers of viewing the internet and offers links to many documents about the issue, including an "internet access policy for schools".

The mother's call for increased internet security has been backed by her MP George Mudie, who has written to Education Leeds chief executive Chris Edwards.

Mr Mudie said: "You would think there would be enough safeguards in place to stop this sort of thing happening."

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said Leeds Learning Network was the only service in the country to have been accredited every year since 2003 for providing safe internet services.

"We take our role in providing secure, filtered internet services for our schools very seriously," she said. "We have strong filters in place and provide comprehensive guidance for teachers and parents to ensure that the internet is used responsibly by all users.

"It is important that users of all ages can access the resources they need for their studies. We are working with this school to make sure that the filters in place are sufficient for their needs."

TALKBACK: How should internet access for pupils in schools be controlled? Call 0113 238 8152; write to Talkback, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 1RF; e-mail eped@ypn.co.uk; log on to www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk.

 
 
 

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