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To Make Digital Lives Safer - Charities Support New Proposals

31-May-2018

                   

Charities were among the first to support Government plans to bring unregulated social media under tighter control and make it safer for younger users.

The UK government says it will lead the introduction of new Internet safety legislation which intends to make social media more regulated.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) are looking to work with children’s charities, technology providers and other stakeholders. Their intention is to develop laws that will make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

The move is among a series of measures included in the government’s response to the Internet Safety Strategy, a proposal of which was published recently.

The sentiment from the DCMS is that digital technology is “..a force for good across the world; and (we) must always champion innovation and change for the better...”.

In the same instance, DCMS have been clear that the ‘Wild West’ elements of the Internet have to be addressed through legislation, in a way that supports innovation.

They recognise that people increasingly live their lives through online platforms; so it’s more important than ever that people are safe.

The strategy from DCMS is that they will work jointly with the Home Office, and with other government departments, on a White Paper which is to be published later this year.

This is to set out legislation to be brought forward that tackles a range of both legal and illegal harms, from cyberbullying to online child sexual exploitation.

The reassurance from DCMS is that The Government will continue to collaborate closely with industry on this work, to make sure it builds on progress already made.

UK charity leaders welcomed the new initiative, pledging their support.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s applauded the Government’s commitment to making the UK the safest place to be online; as well as the recognition of the need to bring industry, charities and the public together to tackle the risks and opportunities the online world brings.

The sentiment from the charity is that they have seen the harm that online can bring to children’s lives; as they saw referrals to their child sexual abuse services increase by 38% in 2017.

The sentiment from The Diana Award was of delight and honour to support the Government’s Internet safety strategy, having been part of a number of consultations seeking and representing the views of their staff, young people they work with and schools.

The sentiment from the national charity is that from their peer-to-peer education programmes they are fully aware of the positive part that digital technology plays in the lives of children and young people; they are also aware of the risks it can bring.

Any changes recommended by the Law Commission’s Review of Online Offensive Communications, announced by the Prime Minister in February 2018, will be considered as part of the legislation.

Further details can be found on the Government website .

 


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