Social media lessons from 4: UK minister

The UK is updating how schools teach children about the perils of social media.
The UK is updating how schools teach children about the perils of social media.

Young children should start learning how to recognise the dangers of social media from the age of four years, Britain's Education Secretary Damian Hinds says.

Draft guidelines are set to be released in the UK providing a framework for schools on how to educate students about relationships and sex, while also focusing on four to 11-year-olds are being taught about the perils of social media.

"Many of today's problems didn't exist when we last gave schools guidance on how to teach relationships and sex education 18 years ago," Hinds wrote in the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"It's high time we updated these subjects, which are so important in helping young people become happy, well-rounded and better able to deal with the challenges of the modern world."

The UK's Department for Education has said sex and relationships education would be made compulsory in all English schools, with updated guidance on addressing modern issues like cyber-bullying, sexting and online safety.

According to the paper, the advice will include children aged four to 11 being taught a set of rules and principles to protect themselves online, as well learning why computer games and social media sites have age restrictions.

"As a society, we can't switch off the internet and nor would we want to," Hinds said.

"But we must make sure that everyone, especially children, can navigate the virtual world, as well as knowing when it's time to step away and make the most of the real one."

Australian Associated Press