Read the full report.
Led by an expert advisory group, Growing Up Digital found that when children use social media they sign up to terms and conditions that they do not understand.
The study also looked into children’s experiences of reporting concerns on social media sites and asking for content about them to be removed.
It recommends giving children more power to tackle social media companies by appointing a digital ombudsman to mediate between them over the removal of content.
The report also recommends that every child in the country studies digital citizenship to build online resilience, learn about their rights and responsibilities online and prepare them for their digital lives.
Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
“We welcome this report from the Children’s Commissioner which highlights the importance of ongoing work to empower children to use technology safely, responsibly and positively.
We support the call to help young people to understand terms and conditions and providing a simple version would be a step forward. But we do also need to continue to educate young people and those that support them about how these services work.
There is a lot happening in education around online safety – from schools, parents, carers and young people themselves. We have supported recent developments in the Computing curriculum, Ofsted inspections, ‘Keeping Children Safe In Education’ statutory guidance, and we would also like to see PSHE education becoming a statutory subject.
We see that young people have a role in this, as role models and peer educators, and our Childnet Digital Leaders Programme equips schools to embed pupil involvement in their e-safety provision.
With just over a month until Safer Internet Day, now is a great time to have a greater focus on these issues and to empower children and young people to use technology safely, responsibility and positively.”
Empowering the next generation of digital citizens
Teaching digital citizenship is essential, as outlined in this report.
There are a range of free resources to enable educators to deliver effective education with children and their parents/carers, as well as providing support if things go wrong.
- Safer Internet Day is taking place on 7th February and there are free educational resources to help schools equip children and parents/carers with the skills and resilisnce they need to make the most of technology
- Professionals Online Safety Helpline provides tailored support to professionals working with children about any online safety issue and works directly with a number of industry partners to resolve more complex issues.
- Cyberbullying guidance and practical PSHE Toolkit: new resources to support schools develop effective strategies to understand, prevent and respond to cyberbullying.