In today’s society, it appears that the internet is deemed a necessity in everyone’s lives. However, does everyone always truly understand what they sign up? Safety is super important when browsing online, not only for adults but children too. Therefore, internet safety is paramount to children comprehending what is acceptable and safe on the internet.
“Children are being left to fend for themselves in the digital world, regularly signing over rights to their private messages and pictures unknowingly and with scant advice from parents or schools, according to England’s children’s commissioner.”
(Children in England sign over digital rights ‘regularly and unknowingly’, The Guardian, January 2017)
The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, wanted to uphold children’s digital rights and stated that internet safety and learning about its use should be included within the curriculum from the age of 4. Similarly, all children aged between 4 and 14 should study ‘obligatory’ digital citizenship at school.
Social Media sites, such as Instagram, had comprehensive terms and conditions which adults could not fully comprehend and ‘ran to more than 5,000 words on 17 pages of text’. They have argued that terms and conditions should be written in a child friendly format so children can make an informative choice about what they are actually signing up to and therefore may reconsider joining at a young age. Children are the biggest users of the internet daily but the internet has not been designed with children as a focus.
Just like within the real world, children need to be educated and supported on the dangers of the digital world they are continuously immersed in. Although there are many positives and endless opportunities of using the internet, it is vital we protect them from any risks they may face and try to make the internet a safer place for children.