Growing Up Digital: Report of the Children’s Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner for England has produced a report looking at how the online space can be made as safe for children as the offline space. Despite the advances in parental controls and age verification, the commissioner has recommended three interventions from government: compulsory digital citizenship education for 4-14 year olds; and the introduction of simplified terms and conditions that can be understood by children; a new children’s Ombudsman to mediate between young people and social media companies.

The report looks at concepts of what is needed to improve children’s digital resilience and the fact that children’s concerns are often not the same parents. The Comissioners supports the 5Rights campaign which states children should have:

  1. The Right To Remove
  2. The Right To Know
  3. The Right To Safety And Support
  4. The Right To Informed And Conscious Use
  5. The Right To Digital Literacy

There is also an interesting piece of research about how good children’s understanding of terms and conditions are and how if these are rewritten into plain language the understanding improves. This could be useful as a teaching resource.

Finally the report looks at the reports from young people where their attempt to get content removed or report inappropriate behaviour using the existing systems is frustrating and they do not feel social media companies are responding effectively. The Commissioner also recommends and extension their own powers to collect data from companies in order to help establish what the issues or children are more clearly.

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