Internet: Bullying

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 4th January 2016.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what cross-departmental initiatives there are to tackle cyberbullying and protect young people from abuse online.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is a multi-stakeholder forum that brings together three government departments, alongside industry, law enforcement, academia, charities and parenting groups to work in partnership to help to keep children and young people safe online. It develops and promotes effective tools and information for children and parents.

The board is co-chaired by Ministers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Education, and the Home Office. Officials from the Department of Health are also standing observers to Board meetings.

The risks UKCCIS is seeking to protect children from are typically understood under four broad categories: content (such as violent or offensive content), contact (such as by online groomers), conduct (such as cyber bullying) and commerce (such as fraud)

As part of this work, the UK’s Communications regulator, Ofcom, is leading a working group to develop best practice guidance for emerging social media platforms to encourage responsible practice from industry, and ensure children using their services are able to do so in a safe and protected way. This guidance has just been published. All the key players are round the table in this important collaborative project, including Twitter, Facebook, Google, Ask.FM, MindCandy and Microsoft.

The Government Equalities Office has also recently provided £500,000 to the Safer Internet Centre to deliver updated cyberbullying guidance for schools, and a PSHE toolkit to help schools deliver sessions about cyberbullying, peer pressure and sexting; and support to professionals through a hotline and online safety briefings. They have engaged with DCMS and DfE in the development of this guidance.

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