Recent figures show 90% of UK adults are internet users in 2018, with that figure rising to almost complete saturation, 99%, among 16 to 34-year-olds. As with all technology, the internet can be used for good or ill. The dangers for children online include the risk of bullying, child sexual abuse, and trafficking, amongst many others.
This policy is a promise to try to protect children from harm when they are online, specifically by preventing them from viewing age-inappropriate material.
This issue is addressed in several related policy verdicts (see below). In those verdicts, we point to:
- a draft of a voluntary social media code of practice for online media companies
- recent legislation to enhance people’s control of their personal data
- a promised white paper to “set out more definitive steps on online harms and safety”
The Data Protection Act 2018 in particular contains various provisions to enhance children’s safety online.
As well as those initiatives, in July 2018, the government announced that it was expanding the scope of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to create a UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS). Priority areas of focus for the new body are said to “include online harms experienced by children”.
The combined effect of actions under the related policies mentioned above, the new UKCIS specifically focusing on children, and the planned introduction of age verification for pornography sites are all evidence of the protections for minors promised by this policy. The promise is not more specific than saying “new protections” so for this reason we’re calling this one ‘done’. Follow this policy to keep up to date with any changes.
Want the details?
- Statistical bulletin: Internet users, UK 2018 – Office for National Statistics
- Child Safety Online – Gov.uk
- Data Protection Act 2018 – Gov.uk
- New Council for Internet Safety in the UK – Gov.uk
- UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) – Gov.uk
- Digital Economy Bill Part 3: Online Pornography – Gov.uk