techUK's recently submitted evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications’ inquiry on Children and Internet is now available.
The Committee aims to investigate the changing role that the internet plays in the lives of children and young people, examining the concerns, as well as the possible benefits, presented by the changing relationship between children and the internet; and investigating how policies and practices might increase the value of the internet for children.
techUK’s response highlighted four key aspects of the technology industry’s work to protect children and young people online:
- The UK has developed one of the best partnership models in the world for government, industry and wider stakeholders to ensure that parents and children have the tools and knowledge to make smart and responsible choices online. Working through organisations such as the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), the Duke of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, Internet Matters and the Internet Watch Foundation, as well as internationally through the WePROTECT Global Alliance, these partnerships work to foster a positive environment for children and young people.
- The online world offers opportunities for children and young people to learn, create and communicate. Children’s use of technology can be beneficial for digital skills, and can have a positive impact upon their future, career, and life skills. Recent reports published by the Family Online Safety Institute and Ofcom's 2016 Communications Market Report identifies that children’s use of technology can be beneficial for digital skills, and can have a positive impact upon their future, career, and life skills. Indeed, the recent A-Level results revealed an increase in students taking computing, and the number of students studying computing GCSEs has increased by 76 percent to 62,500 entrants.
- Technical solutions are available to help parents keep their children safe online. Parental controls and family friendly network level filtering are easily available by the four main Internet Service Providers to help parents manage and keep their children safer online. Parental controls are also built into devices (e.g. Xbox, PlayStation, iPhones and iPads) and some online services have developed specialised products for children and young people to ensure that that age appropriate content environment is maintained.
- Education and outreach play a critical role in creating a safe internet environment for children. Technology companies work in collaboration with NGOs and other organisations to enhance the confidence and resilience of parents and children and build a culture of tech literacy. A number of resources are available such as Vodafone’s Digital Parenting Magazine, BT’s collaboration with UNICEF UK enabling the delivery of a programme of online safety workshops, and Google's Internet Legends programme, which are aimed at enhancing the confidence and resilience of parents and children in dealing with age inappropriate material.
techUK’s full submission can be downloaded below.
This response was developed through the techUK Child Online Safety Group.
For further information is available on techUK’s Child Online Safety activities.