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Children Tories ‘dragging their feet’ on children’s online safety

Recommendations made a decade ago still haven’t be acted on

CHILDREN’S charity NSPCC accused the government yesterday of “dragging its feet” over online safety as it had failed to implement “urgent recommendations” made in its report a decade ago.

NSPCC trustee Professor Tanya Byron called for a “legally enforceable safety code” to keep children safe on social networks as it was “much too late for a voluntary code.”

Ms Byron’s 2008 report, Safer Children in a Digital World, was commissioned by then prime minister Gordon Brown to review young people’s use of the internet and video games.

It made 38 recommendations, including a code of practice for social networks, as well as introducing online safety to school curriculums.

The NSPCC said 16 of the recommendations, including parental control software, family-friendly Internet filters and statutory age classification for video games, were implemented, but 11 were not while seven were implemented only partially.

The charity added that judgement could not be made on the other four as the landscape had changed too much.

The government's Internet Safety Strategy will develop a code of practice for social networks, which the original report recommended, but the NSPCC said it would not include anti-grooming measures as part of its remit.

Ms Byron said: "The government said it wants the UK to be the safest place for children to be online.

"Yet only now is it starting to play catch-up on recommendations I made 10 years ago, while other recommendations have been ignored entirely.

“The internet is absolutely ubiquitous in children's lives today and it is much too late for a voluntary code for social networks.

“The online world moves too fast for the government to drag its feet for another decade.”

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