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Internet and Mobile Phones Written Answer, 24/06/13 [E/NI/S/W]

Written Answer given in the House of Lords on 24 June 2013 in response to Lord Storey's question asking the Her Majesty’s Government how will they ensure that children are taught about the potential dangers of the internet and mobile phones, with specific regard to (1) cyberbullying, (2) grooming, (3) pornography, and (4) sexting.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, replied that through the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), the Government is working with law enforcement agencies, the internet industry, children’s charities and other experts to ensure children and young people are taught about how to stay safe online.

As part of the Government’s reforms to the national curriculum, it will be strengthening the requirements to teach e-safety as part of changes to the new computing programmes of study. From September 2014, children in key stages 1 and 2 will be taught about using technology safely.

The Government take all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying very seriously. Every school must have a behaviour policy which includes measures aimed at preventing all forms of bullying among pupils. Many charities and organisations such as Childnet International and Beatbullying, provide excellent educational resources to schools, pupils and parents. The Beatbullying CyberMentors programme, funded by the Government, enables children and young people who are being bullied to seek support from other young people who have been trained and volunteer their time to help victims of bullying.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) have set up the award-winning “ThinkUKnow” programme, which aims to reduce the harm caused to children through the misuse of technology to sexually abuse or exploit them. Over 2.6 million children have seen the ThinkUKnow resources.

Schools can use Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) to teach children about the dangers of pornography should they choose, and we trust in the professional judgement of teachers to do so appropriately. SRE is compulsory in maintained secondary schools and although primary schools do not have to teach it, many choose to do so in later years.

UKCCIS and its members are working to improve the awareness and understanding of children and young people’s online behaviour and the potential risks. CEOP and Childnet International both have specific programmes on the issue of sexting, which are extensively used by schools.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the House of Lords Hansard 24 June 2013 which is available from the UK Parliament website.

Further Information

House of Lords Hansard 24 June 2013