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E-Safety and E-Security: Raising security awareness among young people using peer education
Atkinson S, Furnell SM, Phippen AD
Proceedings of the 8th Security Conference, April, Las Vegas, USA, 2009
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The potential for harm facilitated via Internet based behaviour presents modern society with a dilemma – on the one hand we wish to embrace new technology and the opportunities it affords. On the other, we wish to protect our families from the potential risks, in particular young people. However, many existing approaches use the risk laden environment as the foundation for the promotion of Internet awareness, which can incite parents and carers and lead to excessive measures for filtering and access. A more inclusive approach, which empowers young people to promote Internet awareness among their peers has been developed alongside a number of schools in the South West of the UK. Initial work with young people between the ages of 14 and 16 in these schools has allowed a good understanding of young people’s attitudes toward online life, as well as demonstrating the potential of the peer led approach. However, the work has also highlighted a potentially detrimental effect of the e-Safety focus – while young people were clearly aware of the risks afforded with online behaviour, the more fundamental issues around Internet security were less well defined, with attitude and behaviour sometimes in conflict, demonstrating flaws in knowledge and the focus of Internet awareness in the young people’s schooling.

Atkinson S, Furnell SM, Phippen AD