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Britain to Become 'World's Safest Online Place' with New Gov Proposals

Britain is to become the safest place in the world to be online thanks to new government proposals announced today by culture secretary Karen Bradley.

As detailed on the UK government’s website, the Internet Safety Strategy aims to crack down on dangers like cyber-bullying, trolling and under-age access to porn by proposing:

• A new social media code of practice to see a joined-up approach to remove or address bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content

• An industry-wide levy so social media companies and communication service providers contribute to raise awareness and counter internet harms

• An annual internet safety transparency report to show progress on addressing abusive and harmful content and conduct

• Support for tech and digital start-ups to think safety first – ensuring that necessary safety features are built into apps and products from the very start

“The internet has been an amazing force for good, but it has caused undeniable suffering and can be an especially harmful place for children and vulnerable people,” Bradley said. “Behavior that is unacceptable in real life is unacceptable on a computer screen. We need an approach to the internet that protects everyone without restricting growth and innovation in the digital economy.

“Our ideas are ambitious – and rightly so. Collaboratively, government, industry, parents and communities can keep citizens safe online, but only by working together.”

The Strategy also outlines the crucial role that education will play in raising online safety awareness, with a particular focus on children and parents:

• New compulsory school subjects – relationship education at primary and relationship & sex education at secondary to provide online safety education

• Social media safety advice – government will encourage social media companies to offer safety advice and tools to parents and safety messages will be built into online platforms

• Safety features highlighted – government will work to raise awareness around the safety products and features that are available for parents

“Proposals in the government’s Internet Safety Strategy are a necessary step in the increasing battle we face in keeping safe online,” said Claire Stead, online safety ambassador at Smoothwall. “As we become a more digital society, it is inevitable that we are going to need measures in place to ensure wellbeing online is protected, especially of children. It needs to be a collaborative effort from the government, educational establishments, social media and technology companies as well as from those at home to safeguard children online."

Stead added that it’s encouraging to see plans about online safety taught alongside issues such as sex education and other ‘life lessons'. “It’s part and parcel of children’s lives these days and instead of preventing access to the web, we need to ensure a balance of embracing the internet but warning against the potential risks.

“Children often see protection such as web filtering as an irritant and try to get around it. Schools and staff need to be ahead of this, and ensure they have the knowledge and tools needed to protect children fully, digitally enabling them without risking their safety.”

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