B4USurf imparts safe use of Internet to youths

The Business Software Alliance launches cyber-safety educational Web resource to help youths across Asia avoid dangers of the Internet.

SINGAPORE--The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched an educational Web initiative to help schools, parents and youths understand and avoid various risks they face online.

Unveiled today in the island-state, B4USurf highlights the dangers and security threats posed by the Internet. It aims to promote safe, healthy and appropriate Internet usage among the young by providing information and resources for educators, parents and youths across Asia.

To this end, the BSA and Singapore's Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) have partnered on a Cyberwellness Framework. The framework, found on the B4USurf Web site, is designed to help teachers in the region create and implement lesson plans in cyber-ethics and cyber-safety.

Jeffrey Hardee, BSA's Asia-Pacific vice president and regional director, noted the importance for schools to make cyber-security a part of the curriculum.

"Many schools are introducing IT and the Internet into the classrooms, but most may not be adequately conveying risks associated with the Internet to their students," said Hardee during a press briefing.

The B4USurf Web resource includes sample lesson plans for teachers, tips for parents to guide and monitor the online behavior of their children, and information on how they can protect their computers from dangers such as spam, worms, Trojan horses, hacking and online fraud.

"We want to have this program in other countries too," said Hardee.

B4USurf will be launched in the Philippines and Taiwan later this week, and some time in March in Malaysia and China.

According to Internet usage statistics from Internet World Stats, Asia had the biggest proportion, or 38.7 percent, of Internet users worldwide in December 2007.

The number of Internet users has been growing at a faster rate in Asia than the worldwide average: Between 2000 and 2007, the number of Internet users in Asia grew by 346.6 percent, compared to the world average of 265.6 percent.

With peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and the growing popularity of blogs and social networking sites, the BSA said many youths may also be engaging in piracy as they post or share copyrighted works such as photographs, music, videos and software, in the process exposing themselves to legal risks.