Byron Review into Internet Safety published
The Byron Review has been examining the issues surrounding Internet safety for children and their environment. The report, written by Dr Tanya Byron makes several recommendations on how to better protect children from the risks they face in the modern world of telecommunications and computing. The full review can be found at www.dfes.gov.uk/byronreview.
The review makes a number of recommendations, some of which may seem rather obvious to early adopters of the Internet, but it should be remembered that in many households the expertise may actually lie with the children rather than the adults as this is a new technology everyone is learning about. The key recommendations are:
- An independently monitored voluntary code of practice on the moderation of user generated content, with commitments in respect to take-down times.
- Computers sold for use in the UK should have Kite-marked parental control software that is easy to set up on them, additionally broadband providers should offer and advertise the use of these tools when setting up their connection.
- Search providers should reach agreement on ways to make sure users are aware of the safety level currently in use for any searches.
- The advertising industry should work with media owners to advertise responsibly to those under 18.
Of course as the internet is still a new and ever changing place, the risks over time will change, for example the growth of free Wi-Fi hotspots and handheld games consoles that support Wi-Fi mean children can these days easily circumvent any access controls you have on your home broadband connection.
The Internet Service Providers Association has welcomed the report, recognising many of its recommendations were incorporated.
"It’s great news that the Byron Review acknowledges the Internet industry’s call for clear ministerial accountability, a coordinated strategy, a commitment to sustainable resourcing and a joined up Government approach for child safety on the Internet."Jessica Hendrie-Liaño (Chair), ISPA Council
The general advice from the ISPA for parents is very straightforward and easy to follow:
- Parents should; ensure that children use the Internet in a communal room
- Offer children regular reminders of online safety rules, know who children are talking to online
- Take time to surf the ‘net with children and ensure that the computer children use to access the Internet has functioning online safety software
- Parents should also acknowledge the wealth of amazing educational and recreational content on the Internet, and children should be actively encouraged to go online safely
For slightly more detailed but easy to understand advice www.getsafeonline.org is worth a visit.