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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

More must be done to protect young net users (UK)

MORE work must be done to keep abreast of changes in modern technology, according to an internet safety expert.
Dr Tanya Byron said the United Kingdom was the world leader in online safety, but that more can still be done.
Professor Byron, the Government’s internet safety advisor, has carried out a progress review into her report, Safer Children in A Digital World, which was published in 2008.
She has highlighted a number of key successes which have been implemented since the report was published.

One of these was the announcement in December last year of a Government internet safety strategy which will see all over-fives taught e-safety in schools.
The legislation was brought in following The Northern Echo’s Safety Net campaign, launched in the wake of the murder of Darlington teenager Ashleigh Hall.
Seventeen-year-old Ashleigh was killed after befriending a man she met on Facebook.

However, he turned out not to be a 19-year-old youth, but instead 32-year-old convicted rapist Peter Chapman.
When the internet safety strategy was launched, Schools Minister Ed Balls wrote in The Northern Echo that the Safety Net campaign was important as there are “dangers lurking behind computer screens”.
In her review announced yesterday, Prof Byron also praised the creation of the Zip it, Block it, Flag it public awareness campaign and the creation of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, a coalition of government, charities and industry.

She said: “Raising awareness of, and improving education in, the way in which children and young people deal with risks online is an important first step. The UK has taken this first step but there is more to be done.”
She has made a number of recommendations including more work done to prevent underage children accessing social networking sites and pornography, an industry wide self-regulated code of practice and work with mobile phone and games console companies to improve standards for parental controls.

A response to the review is to be completed by July.

Mr Balls said: “I’m glad Professor Byron has made it clear that industry and Government need to redouble their efforts to provide support to parents to help them keep their children safe online.”

The Northern Echo