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Barnardo’s welcomes Government plans to make internet safer for children

Release Date: 12 Oct 2017

Barnardo’s welcomes proposals in the Government’s Internet Safety Green paper published today to help protect children by making Britain the safest place in the world to go online.

The UK’s largest children’s charity has been calling to make the internet safer and for parents to be more aware of the mobile technology children are using and who they’re talking to online.

Barnardo’s is concerned the digital revolution is enabling the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people via the internet and mobile devices.  It has recommended the industry introduces measures to prevent online abuse. These include ensuring current and future products like games and apps have safeguards to prevent children being harmed and users are clearly informed about privacy settings.  The charity also believes children should be taught about online dangers in compulsory age-appropriate relationship and sex education lessons being introduced in 2019.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said:

The Internet Safety Green Paper represents a golden opportunity to make social media companies more responsible for the content that may appear on their sites.

There needs to be an online code of practice that every social media company signs up to. Companies need to also incorporate basic safety features during the design of their products from the outset. We also need to ensure that every child is taught the skills they need to be safe online.

Proposals like these are what we at Barnardo’s have been calling for which should help protect vulnerable children and young people. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure children are safe online.

A recent YouGov survey for Barnardo’s of more than 2,300 people revealed that a quarter (25%) of youngsters aged 13-15 said they had communicated with a stranger on social media. This included 27% of girls and 33% of 14 year olds.

The poll results coincided with the release of Childhoods in a Digital World, a paper by Barnardo’s that examines both the challenges and opportunities to children from the rapidly evolving technological world.

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