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Children’s commissioner: the internet is 'not designed' for children

By Megan Rose

A report exposing how ill-equipped children are in coping with the challenges of the online world has been unveiled today.

Growing Up Digital: A report of the Growing Up Digital Taskforce has outlined the realities of children’s online behaviour, with almost half of 8-11-year-olds failing to read the terms and conditions before signing up to social media sites.

As well as this, the year-long study found that many young people lack the proficiency to deal with harmful behaviour such as cyberbullying, with 20% of 7-11-year olds admitting they didn’t know how to report someone online.

Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, argued that children have the right to be digital ‘citizens’ rather than ‘users’ and that their online rights - such as the right to remove content they have previously uploaded about themselves – should be made a Government priority.

The report proposed several key strategies to help improve children’s online prospects. A compulsory Digital Citizenship school scheme for all 4-14-year olds was recommended, as well as a Children’s Digital Ombudsman to ensure inappropriate content found on social media sites is removed. Simplifying terms and conditions was also advised.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, our CEO, Vicki Shotbolt, said that young people are ‘still struggling,’ and that parents should focus on helping develop their children’s social skills so they can be confident in their online as well as offline lives.

Image: Public Domain