Press Association –
The Brownies computer badge is to be rebooted to teach Guides about the perils of online sharing.
The badge was first introduced in 1990 and awarded to girls who could successfully clean a CD-ROM or shut down a desktop PC.
More than 20 years later, it has been redesigned by TalkTalk, the mobile phone carrier, to instill the importance of internet safety.
To qualify for the new emblem, Brownies must now learn how to protect their “digital footprint”, safely use social networking platforms and guard against age-restricted websites.
Girls will also be taught handy tips for blogging, using apps and a condensed history of the world wide web since its invention by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1991.
Julie Bentley, Girlguiding chief executive, said: “The computer badge resource is packed full of fun and challenging activities designed to give Brownies basic computer skills and the confidence to embrace new technology, whilst ensuring that internet safety is always at the front of their minds.
“Our research shows that many girls dismiss entire industries such as science, technology, engineering and maths-based (STEM) careers.
“This resource inspires girls to think of a career in a STEM industry as a varied and rewarding option for them.”
The updated badge follows a sustained Government effort to enhance safety provisions for young children exposed to the web.
The Prime Minister announced last month that key internet service providers had signed up to a “one-click” filter that would restrict access to adult material.
He said yesterday that the family friendly filter would be automatically activated when a user created a new broadband account, to be switched off at a parent’s discretion.
Dido Harding, TalkTalk CEO, said of the Brownies’ new computer badge: “In many respects children are leading the way in technology with their intuitive understanding of digital tools.
“However, they also need to be educated on the application of these tools to ensure they use them safely.
“The work Girlguiding does in helping girls build their life skills is already invaluable, so helping them update their computer badge is the perfect opportunity to ensure these skills are extended into the online world.”