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Weir welcomes app to protect children

A new app, launched to protect children spending more time online at home, has been welcomed by the Education Minister.

Offered to the department by online safety expert Jim Gamble, the Safer Schools app provides parents and carers with the latest safeguarding advice.

Peter Weir said he would encourage all schools and parents to use the free resource.

"As our children and young people have more free time, it is only natural they will spend more time online.

"We want to make sure that teachers, parents and carers have all the knowledge they need to keep children safe," he said.

Teachers will also be able to access a range of professional information, advice and a range of accredited courses.

Mr Gamble, chief executive of iNEQE Safeguarding Group, said: "Whether Zooming, chatting on WhatsApp groups or playing games on HouseParty, everyone, young and old, seems to be going online and to be clear, I am in no doubt that if done safely, that's a good thing. Technology can play a key part in making sure that social distancing doesn't compound the pressures many face by making them feel socially isolated."

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He continued: "As the founding CEO of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, I know that balancing the opportunities and safeguarding challenges in the digital environment is never easy.

"That is why this Department of Education's initiative is so important.

"Download the app and no matter who you are, you'll be better equipped to play your part in making our children safer."

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