13 Feb 2020 10:40
Published by: Scott Callan

Following Safer Internet Day on 11th February, Macclesfield MP, David Rutley, pledged his support for a campaign backed by more than 1,000 schools, charities, and businesses to pledge, to help make the internet a safer place for children and young people.

At a specially-organised event in Parliament, David met with campaigners, including young people concerned about exposure to harmful content on the internet, to discuss the steps that can be taken to help keep young people safe online. This includes empowering parents to talk about the importance of online safety with their children.

David also learned more from campaigners about new research by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC), which reveals that the internet is a fundamental part of young people's identity, and that online experiences are an essential part of who they are offline, with 38 per cent saying it is easier to be themselves online than offline.

However, research has also found issues with internet usage, with a quarter of 13-17-year olds saying they have been targeted with online hate in the last month because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability or gender identity, and 45 per cent of disabled teenagers and 32 per cent of BAME teenagers reporting this. According to the research, 62 per cent of children aged 8-17 have said they are more careful about what they share online as a result of people being mean to them based on who they are.

Safer Internet Day is a globally recognised initiative promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. The event, coordinated in the UK by UK SIC, is celebrated in over a hundred countries. Any local residents who are concerned about online safety can visit the campaign's website, to find further details about what they can do to stay safe online: www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2020

A spokesperson for the UK Safer Internet Centre said: "It is vital that we reach as many children and their parents and carers as possible. Safer Internet Day engages over 1,000 organisations to encourage them to have a conversation about their online safety. The UK Safer Internet Centre provides support and advice to children, parents and professionals working with children all year round. It is essential that policy makers are aware of the challenges that children face online and that is why we hosted today's drop-in session in Parliament."

Speaking after the event, David said, "I strongly welcome the important work being done by the UK Safer Internet Centre in calling for everyone to do play their part in making sure children and young people are safe online. The internet brings many important benefits for young people, but it is vital that they know how to use the internet safely and responsibly. The work of the campaign is a key part in supporting this and promoting better emotional wellbeing among our young people."


You may be interested in