Children: Internet

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th November 2016.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Education) (Early Years)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department plans to update its guidance to early years providers on online safety for children.

Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Education) (Early Years)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she has taken to ensure that parents with children under the age of five receive guidance on how to keep their children safe online.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Early years providers must take all necessary steps to keep children safe and well. Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), statutory guidance for schools including nursery classes in England, sets out that all children have the right to learn in a safe environment. KCSIE is a living document and is reviewed and updated on a regular basis so that the guidance it contains is relevant to current issues and safeguarding concerns. It was last updated on 5 September 2016 and contains information for schools and colleges on teaching safeguarding, including online and the use of appropriate filtering and monitoring. KCSIE can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550511/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf.

As children increasingly work online, it is essential that they are safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. The Department for Education worked closely with the UK Safer Internet Centre and has provided links within KCSIE to further information to support schools and colleges to keep their pupils safe online. KCSIE sets out that governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), a multi-stakeholder forum which brings together government, industry, law enforcement, academia, charities and parenting groups to work in partnership to help to keep children and young people safe online, has published a practical guide for providers of social media and interactive services (including gaming). The guide has examples of good practice from leading technology companies and advice from NGOs and other online child safety experts. Its purpose is to encourage businesses to think about “safety by design” to help make their platforms safer for children and young people under 18.

The Government has also published a guide for parents and carers of children using social media. The guide includes practical tips about the use of safety and privacy features on apps and platforms, as well as conversation prompts to help families begin talking about online safety. It also contains pointers to further advice and support. Both these guides can be accessed at: www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-council-for-child-internet-safety-ukccis.

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