Warn young children about pornography, say heads
Young children should hear about the dangers of pornography as soon as they have access to the internet, leading head teachers say.
The ready availability of explicit material online has prompted serious concerns from the National Association of Head Teachers.
General secretary Russell Hobby said "the conversation should start" when children started going online.
But he stressed this was not about showing pornography in class.
He told reporters at his association's annual conference in Birmingham: "There isn't an easy answer, but as soon as children are getting access to this, it's time to begin the conversation."
Stephen Watkins, head teacher of Millfield School in Leeds, said: "Children as young as three - nursery age children - access computers. If they see something that shouldn't be there, they should know to go and tell an adult."
He recalled having to respond to a boy in class who had turned up some explicit images when researching the North Pole on the internet. And he said an approach which responded to issues when they arose in a low-key way was the option he favoured.
Mr Watkins added that many parents were concerned about the easy access of such material on other people's portable devices and smart phones, which they could not block in the same way as their home computers.
He also warned that parents were setting up under-age Facebook accounts for their children which potentially left them able to access inappropriate material. Youngsters under the age of 14 are not permitted to have their own accounts.
He said of 33 10-and 11-year-old children in his own school's top year, he had discovered 24 were already on Facebook.
Mr Watkins said he had written to their parents to warn them they were going against the social network's own rules and that they were potentially exposing their children to inappropriate material.
Read more... (BBC News - 20 May)