Are We Safe Yet?

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2012 5:44pm

Blogged by Jayne Kirkham

Produced by
Olivia Dickinson, Freelance Digital Producer

Introduced by Dr Jo Twist, CEO UKIE
Speakers: Reg Bailey, Chief Executive, Mothers Union
Ian Douthwaite, CEO, Dubit Ltd
Professor Jackie Marsh, Head of the School of Education, University of Sheffield
Simon Milner, Policy Director UK and Ireland, Facebook

It’s one year on from Reg Bailey’s Government sponsored independent report, Letting Children Be Children, an inquiry into the commercialization and sexualization of childhood. Time to assess its impact and ask who should take responsibility for it?

‘It’ being online safety.

On the whole Reg (and he’s such a nice man, I’m sure he won’t mind the familiarity) is pleased. The report made 14 recommendations. Six of which Reg would give A*, 3 would get grades A-C, 2 could do better and 3 were, and these are my words but just keeping up with the school report analogy that Reg started, MASSIVE FAIL. He didn’t say which three those were but I bet their parents won’t be pleased.

So on the whole a positive response, and made better by Govt commissioning him to review the whole process in September. And for the future? Reg thinks the best way forward is to build emotional resilience in children so they are confident to know what they want and to resist stuff they don’t.

Ian agreed that most public concerns had been addressed and that better still, the review had raised public awareness of the regulations that are already in place. The report had also made agencies and brands aware of their responsibilities. Most people want to comply but don’t know what they’re complying with. SO two websites that you must tell everyone about: the one stop place for parents to voice their concerns. ParentPort. Pass it on.

And the place that lists all online responsibilities, regulations and really important things.
Pass that on as well.

Jackie asked if we will ever be safe? Could we ever be safe? The real and online worlds are both ever changing, evolving. What is vital is literacy education, moving away from print to engage with all media. Parents must learn to navigate the complex media world and the Dept of Education needs to get involved. It’s education. Pass it on.

Simon said we should emulate the best practice of real world; identifying who is most at risk and thinking of how to keep the safe, and finding the right people to help. Facebook is introducing Social Reporting and a Support Dashboard.

To conclude, the Bailey report has made a difference – Top marks everyone wants to make the online space a better one. But while industry can do its part the big big big big issue is Emotional Resilience and Literacy. Family literacy, parent literacy, child literacy. But but but but it’s expensive. Could Do Better.

Will online initiatives pass or fail? Or could children’s centres and schools do better and get A stars with the money? And will the Dept of Education get involved?



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