A roundup of some of the important internet safety discussions and events that have been happening in parliament in the last week.
Dare 2 Care - National Action Plan for preventing child abuse and violence in teenagers’ relationships
On Tuesday 1st November, Sarah Champion, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities and MP for Rotherham, launched a National Action Plan for preventing child abuse and violence in teenagers’ relationships. The plan aims to ‘equip children, parents and professionals from the earliest possible moment to recognise exploitative and coercive behaviour – and have the tools to challenge it.’
The plan has drawn from academics, charities and survivors to develop the recommendations to prevent the abuse of children in the UK in the digital age. Recognising the positive new opportunities that the internet has provided for young people, the plan also addresses the potential risks and dangers that can arise including cyberbullying, online grooming and sexting.
Key recommendations include:
- Introduction from Key Stage 1 of age-appropriate compulsory resilience and relationships education.
- Public health campaign which aims to upskill and support parents on recognising the signs of abuse and how to deal with abuse if it has occurred.
- Training on how to respond effectively and spot the signs of abuse for all frontline professionals working with children.
We welcome calls for statutory PSHE (including SRE) which has garnered more support in recent weeks. This has included the Women and Equalities Committee report which states, “there is strong academic and expert support for compulsory high-quality SRE as part of the approach to reduce sexual harassment and sexual violence. Furthermore, the message from teachers, students, parents and those working with young people is clear—statutory PSHE/SRE is wanted and needed.”
Impact of Social Media on the mental health of young people
Conservative MP Alex Chalk asked parliament on 2nd November whether they had considered the impact of social media on the mental health of young people. He focused on three main issues; cyberbullying, how social media can promote unreal expectations of a perfect life and body and sleep deprivation. Chalk calls for more government research on the effects of social media on mental health for young people and for social media companies to go further in ensuring safe digital spaces.