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Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has announced new proposals to make the UK the safest place to be online in the world.
Reports suggest that nearly one fifth of 12-15 year olds have encountered something online that they ‘found worrying or nasty in some way’, while 64 per cent of 13-17 year olds have reported seeing images or videos offensive to a particular group.
The Government’s Internet Safety Strategy proposes an industry-wide levy so social media companies and communication service providers contribute to raise awareness and counter internet harms, as well as a new social media code of practice to see a joined-up approach to remove or address bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content.
Additionally, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has proposed an annual internet safety transparency report to show progress on addressing abusive and harmful content and conduct and further support for tech and digital startups to think safety first.
Tackling education, the proposals also outlines Relationship Education at primary and Relationship & Sex Education at secondary school to provide better online safety education. However, the government also proposes 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.
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.”