The Byron Review: Safer children in a digital world:

www.education.gov.uk/ukccis/about/a0076277/the-byron-reviews

The Prime Minister asked me in 2008, to lead a review on the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games. The review was published on 27 March 2008 and Government accepted all my recommendations.

In 2009 a progress report was requested and in March 2010 I delivered the follow up report "Do we have safer children in a digital world?

Summary of argument and recommendations in the Byron Review:


Online worlds:

- the online world offers incredible opportunities and benefits alongside which (as in the 'offline 'world) there are risks;

- online content, contact and conduct can all at times be experienced as harmful or inappropriate;

- decisions about what is harmful and inappropriate (not including content, contact or conduct that is illegal or designed only for the 18+ market) are largely subjective as what is harmful/ inappropriate to one child and/ or in the opinion of their family may not be considered or experienced in the same way by another child and their family;

- children and young people (the 'digital natives') are more adept and savvy when it comes to the online space leaving some adults ('digital immigrants') feeling helpless and anxious - there is a digital generational divide and therefore children are often not being prepared for the online world;

- there is no one solution, no magic bullet - this issue is best managed in a number of ways including - industry having clear and transparent standards, using available technology for filtering, setting white/ black lists etc., family/ school discussion and acceptable use 'policies' set down - which the 'end consumer' (i.e. the child and their family) can tailor to meet their particular attitudes and needs;

In short, the review argued that in order to support and, as necessary, protect children online and when video gaming we must:

UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)


UKCCIS is a central part of the recommendations. It is a forum enabling Government and stakeholders - including industry, law enforcement, and the third sector - to come together and contribute jointly to the development and delivery of the Strategy for Child Internet Safety - the strategy will form part of the Child Internet Safety Summit which will be hosted by the Prime Minister.

The work of UKCCIS will drive the programme for ensuring children, young people and parents have the necessary skills and support to make the most from the internet and video games while minimising the potential risks. It will work with other Government programmes, such as Digital Britain UK, to ensure a coordinated response across Whitehall to maximising the enormous opportunities and innovation that new technology provides.

Video Games - the recommendations: