Children risk falling victim to dangers online and parents are often unaware of the realities of the risks that social media presents. Those are two of the conclusions of the 'Growing Up Digital' report, published today by the Children's Commissioner for England.
The report, which examines how to make sure that children have the knowledge to safely engage with the internet, revealed that children are spending increasing amounts of time online, with 12 to 15 year olds spending over 20 hours a week online. Despite this, they are often unaware of what the terms and conditions of the online services they use mean, and lack knowledge of how to report concerns about activities like bullying, sexting or harassment.
Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, and the report's author, said, "The internet is an incredible force for good but it is wholly irresponsible to let them [children] roam in a world for which they are ill-prepared". She highlighted that, "it is critical that children are educated better."
The report recommends that every child in England should study 'digital citizenship' to become more resilient online, understand rights and responsibilities, and be prepared to engage with the internet safely.
While online safety is an issue for everyone, it is particularly important to ensure that children and young people are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to help them avoid the dangers online, while taking advantage of the benefits that ICT offers.
More information about the report can be found on the website of the Children's Commissioner for England.
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