Leeds pupils look at adult sites on school PCs

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One in six Leeds children has accessed adult material on computers in their classrooms, researchers claim.

A recent survey claims that youngsters have accessed violent, adult material and used social media on school computers.

The news comes after the YEP revealed earlier this year that youngsters at a Leeds primary school were sent an inappropriate image by an adult pretending to be a child online.

The children, who had set up their own gaming group, were approached by the predator who was posing as a child on the internet.

Leeds City Council told the YEP there are “excellent” safeguards in place to protect children when they use computers in schools – and they questioned the validity of the figures.

Claire Lilley, head of child safety online at the NSPCC, said: “The internet has some amazing opportunities for children to learn, explore, be creative and socialise but with this come some risks. Children may share content and behave in a way which they would not dream of offline. Some of the material children see online can have an enormously corrosive effect.

“Technological solutions and filters which block inappropriate content, as well as privacy settings on social media profiles are all important but have their limitations.

“Children need to be empowered to protect themselves from the various risks online and this includes learning how to block someone, report or remove content.”

Nathan Marke, chief technology officer at Daisy Group, which conducted the recent search, said: “We have a nation of extremely tech-savvy children, and no website blocking system is ever going to be 100 per cent perfect.”

Paul Brennan, Leeds City Council’s deputy director for children’s services added: “We strongly believe that these figures run the risk of scaremongering when we have excellent controls and safeguards in place.”

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KIDS ‘AT MORE RISK’ ONLINE

The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed earlier this year that child protection experts in Leeds claim advances in digital technology is making it easier for children to fall victim to cyberbullying and online grooming.

Statistics show in just one Leeds primary school around 39 per cent of children use phones and 32 per cent use games consoles to access the internet alongside computers and tablets.

Nearly half of children aged 11 and 12 have a profile on social networking websites – despite most imposing an age restriction of 13.

More than 4,500 young people contacted ChildLine in one year for advice on how to deal with being bullied through social networking sites, chat rooms and through gaming sites.

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