So David Cameron has finally decided to do something about internet safety. I quite agree that the way to do it with the large companies is to have a sword of Damocles in the form of legislation. Threatened because otherwise the companies would just make a lot of noise and not do as much as they could.
It’s good on the level of law enforcement and its good on the level of identifying sites that encourage the abuse of children. However, there needs to be just as much if not more work done on the identification of victims and the education of parents. People should remember that although the companies say they have created tools and methods to support parents blocking content for their children, either parents are unable to use these tools or older children are more savvy at getting around these tools, or in some cases they are inadequate to the task.
A substantial, dedicated programme of internet education is extremely necessary for parents who currently have rings run around them by most children. Therefore their ability to moderate children’s on-line behaviour is so limited it is laughable.
Also given the fact that, according to Facebook, there are 80 million fake Facebook accounts in the world engaged in some form of fraudulent behaviour or other and many thousands (if not tens of thousands) of sites where parents have lied about the ages of their children in order to get them an account before the age of 13.
It’s not just soul searching and a moral sea change that we need, but practical, transparent changes in behaviour and solid investment in education. So, five out of ten for effort but I’m not sure if this makes it half empty or half full.by