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Growing up with the internet: New report from the Select Committee on Communications

Image of Growing up with the internet: New report from the Select Committee on Communications

by David Wright

22 March 2017

David is a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre at SWGfL. He has worked extensively in the area of online safety for many years with children, schools and the wider community.

Yesterday the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications published its Growing up with the internet report. 

Led by an expert advisory group, 'Growing up with the internet' recommends that Digital Literacy is vital for children to navigate the online world and should sit alongside reading, writing and mathematics as the fourth pillar of a child's education.

The report also advises that schools should teach online responsibilities, social norms and risks as part of mandatory, Ofsted-inspected Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.

It supports the Children's Commissioner's recommendation to extend her data gathering powers to include social media and internet services.

The report also recommends that there is an independent mechanism to arbitrate requests to remove harmful and abusive digital content.

David Wright, Director of SWGfL and the UK Safer Internet Centre said:

"The UK Safer Internet Centre, a partnership of three leading online safety charities dedicated to making the internet a better place for children and young people, welcomes the report from the Select Committee on Communications, and fully supports the call for Digital Literacy to be established as the fourth pillar of a child’s education.

“There is a lot happening in education around online safety – from schools, parents, carers and young people themselves. We have supported recent developments in the Computing curriculum, Ofsted inspections, ‘Keeping Children Safe In Education’ statutory guidance. Our recent annual assessment of schools’ online safety policy and practice, whilst highlighting areas for improvement, illustrates a steady and consistent overall improvement.

“Schools and teachers are often at the vanguard of online safety issues, something that our Helpline is acutely aware of. Since 2010, the Helpline has supported thousands of teachers resolve online safety issues and has developed a unique capability and reputation for the removal of harmful and abusive digital content from online platforms. This has been largely achieved through positive action with providers. The Helpline has lead the way in establishing an alliance of similar international organisations, all dedicated to addressing this global issue.

Empowering young people

There are a range of free resources to enable educators to deliver effective education with children and their parents/carers, as well as providing support if things go wrong.

  • Safer Internet Day took place on 7th February and there are free educational resources to help schools equip children and parents/carers with the skills and resilience they need to make the most of technology
  • Professionals Online Safety Helpline provides tailored support to professionals working with children about any online safety issue and works directly with a number of industry partners to resolve more complex issues.
  • Cyberbullying guidance and practical PSHE Toolkit: new resources to support schools develop effective strategies to understand, prevent and respond to cyberbullying.