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A touring drama group is to teach school kids about the dangers of the Internet.

The group is expected to visit 20 schools in the next four or five months as part of a Government-backed initiative launched today to improve child safety on the Net.

KidSmart is backed by kids Internet charity, Childnet International, and UK PC maker Tiny. Aimed at children aged between 8 and 11, the KidSmart Web site will also provide resources for parents and teachers so they, in turn, can help children.

This latest attempt to teach kids about the dos and don'ts of life online is based on the UK Government's acronym-based "SMART"* rules, which are designed to help youngsters play safely online.

Andrew Walwyn, MD of Tiny, said: "We believe that KidSmart is an essential initiative in building awareness of the issues and providing practical advice to children, parents and teachers."

In December 2001, the Government spent £1.5 million in an advertising campaign warning children and parents about the potential dangers of paedophiles lurking on the Net. ®

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*The SMART rules are:

S - SECRET Always keep your name, address, mobile phone no and password private - it's like giving out the keys to your home.
M - MEETING someone you have contacted in cyberspace can be dangerous. Only do so with your parent's/carer's permission, and then when they can be present.
A - ACCEPTING e-mails or opening files from people you don't really know or trust can get you into trouble - they may contain viruses or nasty messages.
R - REMEMBER someone online may be lying and not be who they say they are. Stick to the public areas in Chat rooms and if you feel uncomfortable simply get out of there.
T -TELL your parent or carer if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.

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