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Internet Safety Strategy

Volume 635: debated on Thursday 8 February 2018

We are committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online. In October, we published the internet safety strategy Green Paper. On Tuesday the Prime Minister confirmed that we will bring forward the social media code of practice and an annual internet transparency report, as proposed in the Green Paper, and we will publish a full response in the spring.

It is clear that teaching internet safety in schools will be a crucial part of all that the Government are doing for the future. At the moment, there is a huge number of disparate endeavours from a range of sources. It seems to me that they are in some ways less than the sum of their parts. I wonder whether the Government would consider backing a body such as Internet Matters to really deliver gold standard education in this area.

As my hon. Friend says, there is a lot going on in this space. Last Friday, I visited the parent zone at Coupals Primary Academy in my constituency and saw a brilliant presentation teaching 8 to 11-year-olds how to be safe online. There is a lot more to do in this area, so that young people grow up resilient and able to use the opportunities that the internet presents safely. I pay tribute to Internet Matters for its work.

In the internet safety strategy, the Secretary of State proposed that there would be specific measures to protect children, yet when the Data Protection Bill came to the other place there was a hopeless deficit of any specific measures to protect children. It fell to Baroness Kidron, supported by us, to remedy the gap. When the Bill comes to the Commons, will the Secretary of State agree to work constructively with us to ensure that proper digital rights for children, who make up a third of users, are included in the Bill, like the very good five rights framework proposed by the Baroness and supported by us?

That is an interesting proposal. We supported the Baroness Kidron amendment. I welcome it and I think that we have made some progress. Of course, this issue is broader than just data protection, so we have to ensure that we get the legislation right. That Bill can only cover data protection, which is not the whole issue. Also, it would be a backwards step if the Bill gave the impression that the generality of measures did not apply to children because we have specifics that do. I am happy to talk further to the right hon. Gentleman and to work on this because it is clearly an area on which we need to make progress.