Something Must Be Done

The Byron Review is an independent review of the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games. At this point the blogosphere will erupt with cries of “censorship” while parents will say “about time too”, Lets hope that Dr Tanya Byron comes up with something that is at least as practical and sensible as in her TV programmes.


But that will depend on the responses to her consultations.

So what are you doing to help ensure that she gets good, balanced, informed and practical inputs from those who produce and publish material for children, those those whose networks are used to diseminate it and from those who understand the reality of trying to monitor/control what their children are doing, even when the parent is a supposed “IT expert”?

I know that the BCS is planning to make a submission and IMIS also expects to do so, subject to inputs from its members.

“Subject to inputs from its members” is the difficulty.

My memories were scarred when I was on the BCS Council and my attempt to issue guidelines with regard to good professional conduct when coming across “suspect” use by colleagues was blocked by a single vociforous individual.

The BCS has, thankfully, moved on a long way since then. And IMIS never had that problem, IT Managers were always more likely to be parents and to have “robust” views as to what was proper conduct for their staff.

But we also need to ensure that proposals are practical and realistic. We need to recognise that exploration is part of growing up. We also need to remember our own childhood. Children abusing other children (using social networking to add a new and psychologically even more brutal and bruising dimension to their bullying) is a much more common problem in the “real” world.

One of my colleagues in EURIM is currently assembling a “map” of initiatives related to on-line child protection initiatives in the UK. The main aim is to help those wishing to support good work to better target their contributions,

Overall, the picture is encouraging but there is also muddle and confusion and a reinvention of square wheels.

Hopefully the Byron Review will help clarify part of the situation – but it will need also input from the professionals whose technoogies are being abused.

As I said in my first blog – The Nurembourg defence is no defence if you are on the losing side

Your deadline is 30th November to evidence.byronreview@dscf.gsi.gov.uk

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