SEVERAL Grade 7 and 9 students at Kingston High School were engaged in a rap session on safe Internet practices by LIME Foundation officials on Tuesday.
The group of youngsters, aged 12 years and up, were given tips on using the Internet safely — ranging from basic password protection to online scams.
The rap session, held in observation of Safer Internet Day, came out of recognition by the LIME Foundation that thousands of Jamaican children have access to the Internet through a wide variety of devices, which include computers, smartphones and tablets, thereby making them easily vulnerable to cyberspace predators.
Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe — an online safety arm of the European Union — in February each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.
Youth at risk and their welfare is a major aspect of LIME Foundation's mandate.
The rap session — led by Michael Sutherland, LIME's information technology security manager, and Troy Cockings, director, LIME Foundation — caught and held the attention of the youngsters.
Both men urged greater online vigilance, advising the youngsters against being too quick to give information about themselves or their whereabouts.
"Be careful about the kind of pictures you post online. These are the means by which you leave yourselves vulnerable to online predators," they also told the students.
At the end of the session, the students and school administration expressed their appreciation to the Foundation and said, "You have given us a lot of things to think about. We learnt a lot and we will take your advice and share it with our friends".
In reflecting on the day's activities, LIME Foundation Chairman Errol K Miller commented, "The Internet is undoubtedly one of the marvels of our age, but it can be a very scary place for our young and gullible children. It would be remiss of us as an organisation that is a major Internet provider not to take Internet safety seriously.
"We all have a responsibility to protect our children in every way and the case for making sure our children are safe when using the Internet is underscored by the recent case in Jamaica where a 15-year-old girl went missing for days, only for it to be discovered that she was with an adult male she had met online."
The Foundation threw in a surprise raffle of a mobile phone and encouraged the students to continue to develop a greater awareness of the dangers that lie within Cyberspace.