Pupils being targeted by extremists while working online in schools, survey suggests

Pupils are being cyber-bullied and targeted by extremist groups while working online in school classrooms, where children also looking at inappropriate content, according to a new survey of parents.

The research also suggests that most parents believe it is teachers who are responsible for educating children about the dangers of the internet.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK parents indicates that one in 14 children has been cyberbullied in school, one in 20 has accessed inappropriate content, and one in 33 has been targeted by extremist groups.

But the research also suggests that the inclusion of online safety education into the IT curriculum last year has resulted in parents sitting back, rather than taking responsibility for ensuring their children are properly equipped to safely navigate the online world.

Commissioned by online security company AVG Technologies, the survey reveals that 84 per cent of parents believe schools are responsible for online safety education, while 89 per cent do not speak with their child’s teachers about their internet usage away from home.

The online survey shows that the majority of parents (81 per cent) assume their child has not encountered any dangers online at school, and yet it suggests that one in 14 children has been cyberbullied.

Ofsted’s 2015 Online Safety in Schools Survey, published earlier this year, revealed that schools needed to do more to encourage communication between teachers and parents – with only 9 per cent of primary schools and 10 per cent of secondary schools involving parents in the writing of online safety policies.

Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist at AVG Technologies, said: “It’s important to remember that children’s learning is not just contained within the classroom.

“While teachers certainly have a big role to play in children’s education, parents must ensure that the same lessons are echoed and reinforced at home. Just as we teach our children to avoid physical dangers – such as in crossing the road – parents must also be mindful of not forgetting to address the digital dangers that can be equally harmful too.”

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInGoogle GmailShare