11 Oct 2017

Richard Crellin, Policy Manager at The Children’s Society, said:

“We welcome today’s recommendations from the government to improve internet safety. A code of practice for online behaviour, along with greater accountability and clearer reporting tools for when abuse occurs, are all steps that are urgently needed.

"We know from our joint inquiry into cyberbullying that online abuse has a devastating impact on children’s wellbeing, and young people tell us they want to see social media companies do much more to tackle it head on.

"The code of practice must result in the terms, conditions and policies of social media companies being understandable to children and empower them to exercise their rights and keep themselves safe. It must also have teeth to force companies to act on online abuse.

"The strategy promises consultation with children about what they would like to see but unless the government makes good on this promise and takes children's views seriously any resulting measures are likely to fall flat.

"The strategy highlights that vulnerable children, such as those at risk of being taken into care, need particular attention. We know from our frontline practice that vulnerable young people often experience a toxic mix of digital disadvantage - either lacking access to the internet or being at significant risk of harm if they do access it.

"It’s vital that the government takes robust steps to ensure that these safeguards focus on the most vulnerable children to make them safe online, and we will work hard to make sure their voices are heard.”