IDF officers visited schools across Israel to teach students of all ages about safe Internet usage this week.
In honor of International Safe Internet Day some 90 IDF officers appeared in Israel's classrooms on Tuesday to speak to students about the dangers posed by the Internet.
The project was a joint effort by the Education Ministry and IDF Teleprocessing Corps.
Cpt. Oz Dovev, who heads the technology department at the IDF school of computer professions, told students “Behind every computer is a person with feelings, thoughts and desires."
He warned the students of online harassments and stressed the importance of helping anyone in need. “Don’t keep any troubling secrets to yourself - tell teachers, school counselors, parents, siblings or instructors."
Lt. Col. Orit Tetresky told the students, “It is crucial you understand the responsibility and power in your hands. The knowledge you have on the Internet goes beyond your imagination. Unfortunately, bad things can happen. You must influence and be aware of the dangers.”
Teresky said the purpose of the project was “to provide the public this service and raise awareness among children. It is crucial they understand the capabilities as well as dangers posed by the Internet.”
The chief messages conveyed to the students were employing prudent thought before publishing anything online, and the capability of every social network user to select friends, who to talk to, and what is or is not acceptable to say.
Additionally, the students participated in simulations of unsafe Internet use scenarios, what they might cause and how to avoid them.
The IDF visits to the classroom came on the same day that the Education Ministry issued an advisory to parents imploring parents to forbid children under the age of 13 from using social networks – like Facebook.
Limor Harari, who heads the ministry's "ethics and the protection online" initiative, wrote: "Experience teaches us that children at grade school level still lack awareness of the consequences of distributing pictures and personal data on the internet.
The ministry also asked parents to monitor and direct their children's Internet usage and keep tabs on who their online acquaintances are.