Reflecting the ever increasing concerns about online safety of children, a number of government sponsored initiatives were announced just before Christmas.
For schools: The DfE has commenced a consultation on measures to keep children safe online, both at home and at school. The result of the consultation will be a new section on online safety in Keeping Children Safe in Education. The consultation is available here and runs until 16 February.
All schools should note however that the DfE consultation proposes in addition a large number of revisions to KCSIE. In Annex F of the consultation paper there is a table making clear what will change to KCSIE between the July 2015 version and the proposed new version. Schools should keep a close eye on developments here as all their safeguarding policies are likely to require revision as a result of the new version being continued.
For providers of online social media or interactive services: The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCIS) has published guidance for all providers to help them embed online child safety into their web or mobile business.
For parents/carers: UKCIS has also produced guidance for parents and carers whose children are using social media.
For children, and their parents, carers or teachers: CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) has updated its content on their Thinkuknow website.
For anyone working with children: NSPCC have made available, for £20 per head, an online training course to learn how children use the internet and how to help keep them safe from abuse. The course can be viewed here.
The issue of online safety for children, for their parents, for internet/social media providers and for schools, charities, sports clubs, churches and others working with children is clearly going to grow significantly in the coming years as both legislation and guidance seeks to catch up with the everyday reality of children's online lives.
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This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
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