A six month study which announces the first national strategy for child internet safety has been set out in a report for government today by Dr Tanya Byron named as “Safer Children in a Digital World”
The report argues that the government and the online and games industry must do more to provide comprehensive information to parents, young people and educators, develop an updated and consistent system for classifying computer games and develop clearer codes of practice for social networking sites.Dr Byron states that the pace of the online revolution has left parents as “internet immigrants” and children as “internet natives” which often causes fears for parents who may be struggling to stay in touch with the ever expanding developments and trends in technology. According to the Byron report it has shown that parents are most worried by online predators but children are most concerned by cyberbullying.
The Byron Report proposes:
- A UK wide strategy to develop and deliver child internet safety across the country and support parents and educators in teaching children and supporting them to manage the risks and dangers of the digital world. This should be supported and implelmented in Schools by Government, Ofsted, Becta and the TDA.
- A national UK Council for Child Internet Safety to implement the strategy, with a fixed timetable for industry experts; a parents’ panel and child development experts to implement recommendations.
- A standard benchmark for the video and online games; clearer/standard classification, improved parental controls and guidance on the advertisement of games.
- The creation of a website for parents to find out more information about online safety and how to implement control mechanisms such as filtering, pin codes and locks.
- New codes of practice to regulate social networking sites, Bebo, Facebook, Myspace, Youtube etc including clear guidelines and standards on privacy and harmful content, and for them to be reviewed by an independent body to ensure itâs being enforced.
- A new law based on a 2006 Law Commission recommendation making it unlawful to assist suicide on the internet.
- A comprehensive public information and awareness campaign on child internet safety to educate parents, young people, teachers etc to ensure they can get the most from technology without being overexposed to the risks and dangers