14th August 2015

New Children’s Commissioner internet taskforce announced to help children as they grow up digitally

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England is today announcing the launch of a taskforce to ensure children’s interests are at the heart of the development of the internet and web-based technology.

The taskforce, which will bring together policy, legal and technology experts, educationalists and young people themselves, will look at the digital world from the child’s perspective with the challenges and opportunities it presents. It will put forward a new digital settlement for children as they grow up in this fast changing environment.

The taskforce is announced following a pledge today from Baroness Joanna Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security, to support the iRights framework which encourages organisations to sign up to five pledges that protect and support children online.

Beginning in the autumn, the taskforce will explore what growing up in a digital age is like and how this shapes the way children think and act; the concerns children have about the online world and how these could be addressed; how children learn online; and what would support children’s safety online ensure so that they are more ‘in control’ of their digital experience.

It follows publication earlier this month of a survey conducted for the Children’s Commissioner by YouGov which found that the majority of adults (60%) feel the continuous availability of social media has had a negative effect on childhood and only 1 in 8 (13%) feel it has been beneficial.

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England said, “Childhood is being rapidly transformed by the internet and web-based technology in a creative but socially and legally disorganised way.

“Children are among the greatest users of the internet but it was not designed with them in mind. We need to make sure that going forward, children’s needs and safety are place at its core so that they can maximise the potential it provides.  I am launching a taskforce of adult and young experts to investigate children’s experiences, ambitions, needs and concerns about the digital world and the industry response.

“I am determined to ensure that children’s interests are promoted and protected online.  My goal is to agree a new digital settlement for young people.”

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