Connecticut has announced a new program aimed at helping schoolchildren protect themselves against online predators.

“Play It Safe Online” targets fifth-graders and teaches them appropriate use of the internet and how to protect themselves against online crime, officials said.

Police officers and other officials in 10 towns have been trained to teach the one-hour curriculum to middle-school students. The towns are Beacon Falls, Derby, Glastonbury, Meriden, Milford, Newtown, North Haven, Prospect, South Windsor, and West Hartford.

“Each day, 10 million children across the nation go online for homework or other reasons,” said Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell, who introduced the program at a news conference at the state Capitol Oct. 19.

Unfortunately, Rell said, children who are using the internet as an educational tool also can become victims of sexual predators.

“We want to make the internet a safe haven for our children,” she said. “With the help of students, parents, educators, and the police, we’re going to take cyber criminals off line. We’re going to find them and we’re going to punish them.”