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Internet safety strategy

The UK Government’s Internet Safety Strategy proposes a new social media code of practice to address bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content; and 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 will show progress.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: “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. Behaviour 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.”

It is proposed that the UK Council for Child Internet Safety becomes the UK Council for Internet Safety to consider the safety of all users, not just children. The Government says it wants to make Britain the safest place in the world to be online. For the proposals in full visit


David Emm, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab said: “It is positive to see the government considering the introduction of new compulsory school subjects on cyber safety. However, this will not be effective unless there is sufficient training and education available for teachers to deliver this. As we know, they already have to struggle with the fast pace of technology. This may mean providing funding specifically for training and education of teachers, in addition to rolling out the curriculum for this subject. We have seen many initiatives from the government encouraging social media companies to do the right thing by providing safety advice and tools, but perhaps we need to see concrete action in order to see real change. It’s like asking consumers to “please wear a seatbelt as it is the right thing to do for your safety and the safety of others”; encouragement isn’t always enough on its own. In addition, perhaps it’s time for the government to require social media companies to make security and privacy default settings.”

And Claire Stead, Online Safety Ambassador at Smoothwall, said: “Proposals in the Government’s ‘Internet Safety Strategy’ are a necessary step in the increasing battle we face in keeping safe online. 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.

“Online abuse, cyber bullying and exposure to pornography are becoming some of the most concerning issues of this generation, and we can start to tackle this at schools. 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. As the web has become the norm in classrooms, teachers and staff have a responsibility to make sure pupils are protected from online dangers and ensure that incidents don’t go undetected or unnoticed.

“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. Training teachers on the fundamentals of online abuse isn’t enough, however; schools also need a smart, proactive approach to content filtering and monitoring. While it’s not possible to completely eradicate problems such as cyberbullying, sexual abuse and radicalisation, if schools have both the smartest web filtering and monitoring in action, they then have a solid foundation from which they can protect children from all kinds of nasty threats online.”


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