New House of Lords report published: Growing up with the internet
5 April 2017
We live in a world where both technology and the internet are intertwined with everything that we do; from staying in touch with friends and family to ordering our food shopping, keeping up to date with the news to watching our favourite TV show. With children growing up as digital natives, the internet and being online is intrinsic to everything that they do and every part of their world. Despite this, the clear distinction between the needs of a child and that of an adult in the ‘real world’ have not yet fully migrated into the online world.
The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, led by an expert advisory panel, have published a report exploring the issues and opportunities children face as they grow up with the internet and internet-enabled technology. ‘Growing up with the internet’ addresses well documented public concerns with regards to children online, including cyberbullying, online child sexual abuse and exploitation and easy access to inappropriate content, and sets out appropriate recommendations for the Government.
Recommendations to the Government include:
- Establishing a Children’s Digital Champion to ensure coordinated and sustained action and to present robust advocacy on behalf of children to industry.
- Digital Literacy is vital to enable children to navigate the online world and should sit alongside reading, writing and arithmetic as the fourth pillar of a child’s education.
- Exploring with children the issues that they may face online should be part of compulsory, Ofsted-inspected Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.
- Minimum standards should be established for those providing internet services and content including child-friendly design, content control filtering, privacy, data collection, terms and conditions of use.
- The Children’s Commissioner have the power to request information from public bodies expanded to include data from social media companies and online platforms.
Whilst ultimately it is the Governments responsibility to ensure that everyone from the relevant Government agencies to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are working together to allow children have the safest online experiences as possible, it is essential that we all play our part in supporting children to have positive experiences on the internet.
The CEOP command Thinkuknow programme aims to empower and protect children and young people from sexual abuse and exploitation through education. Information and advice for children and young people, parents, carers and professionals can be found at www.thinkuknow.co.uk.