2021 has been a year of challenges as well as progress in online safety. We welcomed the coming into force of the Age-Appropriate Design Code in September this year and were pleased to see the impact it had in encouraging many large social media companies to introduce changes which increased the protection for children on their platforms. We look forward to even more improvements once the Online Safety Bill has made its way through Parliament. This will impose a duty of care on tech companies to do more to protect younger users from harm.
The pandemic led to many children spending more time online than ever before. It helped them to socialise, to continue their education and to have fun. It provided a welcome distraction from everyday worries, but it also left some children exposed to online harms. Education about the risks, how to spot them and how to respond safely is as important as ever.
The Children’s Commissioner has just launched the latest guidance entitled “The things I wish my parents had known …” with advice about how to approach conversations with children about sexual harassment, inappropriate content and pornography. Whilst it is not exactly a festive topic, the holiday period may provide a useful opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children and address these issues. Those who followed the revelations on the “Everyone’s Invited” website will know just how important this is.
It has been a tough year for everyone in the education sector and we wish you all a safe, healthy and happy festive season. We hope that you will return rested and ready for whatever 2022 has to throw at us and we look forward to helping you deal with any online issues as they arise.
Best wishes and Merry Christmas from the Gooseberry Planet Team.
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