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Byron Report released - view it here

Press release after the link. The review can be viewed here.

Major recommendations:

  • The creation of a new UK Council for Child Internet Safety, established by and reporting to the Prime Minister, and including representation from across Government, industry, children’s charities and other key stakeholders including children, young people and parent panels.
  • Challenging industry to take greater responsibility in supporting families through: establishing transparent and independently monitored codes of practice on areas such as user generated content; improving access to parental control software and safe search features; and better regulation of online advertising.
  • Kick starting a comprehensive public information and awareness campaign on child internet safety across Government and industry, which includes an authoritative ‘one stop shop’ on child internet safety.
  • Setting in place sustainable education and initiatives in children’s services and education to improve the skills of children and their parents around e-safety.

On video games, Dr Byron recommends a range of high profile and targeted efforts to help inform parents what games are right for their children, such as:

  • Reforming the classification system for rating video games with one set of symbols on the front of all boxes which are the same as those for film.
  • Lowering the statutory requirement to classify video games to 12+, so that it is the same as film classification and easier for parents to understand.
  • Clear and consistent guidance for industry on how games should be advertised.
  • Challenging industry to provide sustained and high profile efforts to increase parent’s understanding of age ratings and improved parental controls.

Government commits to delivering Byron recommendations

27 March 2008

Joint DCMS/DCSF Press Release

Ed Balls and Andy Burnham today welcomed the Byron Review of the risks to children of potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games. Accepting all Dr Byron’s recommendations, they pledged to act immediately on taking forward her proposals.

This commits the Government to push forward with the ambitious actions set out in Tanya Byron’s report ‘Safer Children in a Digital World.’ The Department for Children Schools and Families and Department for Culture Media and Sport will work with industry, schools and parents to ensure children and young people remain safe in the online world.

Ed Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families said:

“Our aim is to make this the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up. In our Children’s Plan consultations parents have told us the internet is an issue which really worries them and they want help in balancing the risks and the opportunities.

“I am grateful to Dr Byron for carrying out this review and the recommendations show a convincing analysis of how we can properly manage risk in a fast paced, fast changing new media environment.

“I welcome Dr Byron’s focus on a shared culture of responsibility. Keeping children and young people safe from harm must be the priority and responsibility of us all. However, children also need to be able to learn, have new experiences and enjoy their childhoods. So we will help families strike the right balance between keeping children safe and allowing them the freedom they need by taking forward Dr Byron’s recommendations.

“Children and young people often know more about the latest developments in new technology and video games than adults do. Dr Byron’s recommendations will help parents to recognise risks and judge what is appropriate, such as bringing the 12+ rating on video games in line with film age classification.

“This important issue remains a priority for Government and a UK Council on Child Internet Safety, established by and reporting to the Prime Minister will lead on a national strategy for improving child internet safety.”

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said:

"As Dr Byron points out, parents of my generation, who grew up in a purely analogue world, face real challenges in understanding the new media world.

"This is a landmark report, setting out clearly for the first time how we can make sure that children can enjoy the benefits of new technology, while being protected from inappropriate material. There is no question that children can benefit greatly from the digital world, but there are real risks that must be managed.

“We can all - the Government, parents and the industry - play a part in reducing that risk and Dr Byron has set out a clear plan of action.

"I am committed to working with the internet and games industries to build on existing safeguards. Specifically, we will consult on a more coherent classification system for video games. We want to empower young people and allow them to enjoy the educational, social and entertainment potential of the digital age.

“Dr Byron has shown how direct engagement with children and parents can illuminate the issues and reveal the best ways of making a real difference to our lives."

DCSF and DCMS will now work together with other key Departments including Home Office, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to take forward Dr Byron’s recommendations.

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