A report by the Communications Committee has argued for compulsory classes in schools to teach young people how to use the Internet, social media and messaging apps safely and responsibly.
The report, entitled ‘Growing up with the Internet says “digital literacy should be the fourth pillar of a child’s education alongside reading, writing and mathematics and be resourced and taught accordingly”.
E-safety has been a compulsory part of education in schools since 2010, but this is mostly focused on protecting children from harm and is not the same as digital literacy.
The committee insisted technology companies must also take responsibility for children’s wellbeing online, arguing that the bare minimum expected from websites and social media platforms should be “child-friendly design, filtering, privacy, data collection, and report and response mechanisms for complaints”.
They also recommended that there be an “independent mechanism to arbitrate complaints from children who wish content about themselves to be taken down” and a new ‘Children’s Digital Champion’ be permanently appointed within the Cabinet Office to coordinate action on children’s wellbeing online across government departments.
A summary of the report can be found here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldcomuni/130/13003.htm#_idTextAnchor003
Contents of the full report can be found here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldcomuni/130/13002.htm