London UK, 4th April 2008 – As social networks start to play an increasingly important role in the lives of today’s children, D-Link, a leading provider of networking solutions to the education sector, has today launched a sponsored guide that provides advice and best practice for teachers and parents to help children and students enjoy the internet responsibly, while keeping them safe and protected from potential dangers when socialising or studying online. Entitled ‘Safe & Sound’, the guide can be downloaded from www.dlink.co.uk/safeonline/.
The guide’s timely introduction follows recent survey results from the telecommunication regulator Ofcom, which researched the impact of social networks on people's lives in the UK. It surveyed 5,000 adults, and more than 3,000 children. The survey found that 49% of children aged between 8-17 have an online profile, while almost half of all eight to 17-year-olds online have a profile on a social networking sites such as Bebo or MySpace.
In light of the growing popularity of social networking sites, on Friday 4 April, the Home Office is expected to introduce guidelines for sites like Bebo and MySpace around best practice, security and privacy. While the Home Office guidelines have been developed for social networking sites to follow, the D-Link sponsored guide specifically addresses the steps parents and teachers can take to protect children online.
Andrew Mulholland, D-Link Marketing Manager UK & Ireland, commented: “D-Link applauds the Home Office and the popular social networking sites for taking a responsible attitude toward implementing measures designed to make the online experience fun, rewarding, and, critically for youngsters, safe. The D-Link sponsored guide complements the Home Office guidelines by providing specific and immediate actions that parents and teachers can take when children are online. As a leading provider of network solutions that facilitate internet connectivity in the home and education market, D-Link has a responsibility to ensure that its customers – whether students or families – are able to enjoy an optimised internet experience, free from danger or risk. Hence why D-Link decided to sponsor the Safe & Sound Guide.”
‘Safe & Sound was written by Kim Thomas, a freelance journalist specialising in education, technology, business, and employment. Kim has written extensively for national papers, including The Guardian and The Financial Times, as well as for magazines such as IT Week, Information World Review and a number of educational publications. She also holds a Ph.D. in the sociology of education, and has worked as a lecturer in further and higher education. Her website is at www.kimthomas.co.uk.The Home Office guidelines combined with the Safe & Sound Guide should help to mitigate against online dangers of cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking, for example, and to encourage children to think carefully and sensibly about the information they divulge to strangers when they are online. In the latest BESA survey, with D-Link ranked first in education for wireless technology.