Professor Sonia Livingstone of the Department of Media and Communications has contributed to a report for the Lords Select Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.
The Committee called on the Government to establish a Children’s Digital Champion to ensure coordinated and sustained action from Ministers across all departments and to present robust advocacy on behalf of children to industry.
The report highlights that children are adopting recently innovated technology in their everyday lives before policy makers, schools or parents can consider the implications of such technology.
The Committee heard evidence that the internet does not take sufficient account of the fact that the needs of children are different to those of adults, and the current regime of self–regulation is underperforming. The Committee concluded that intervention at the highest level of the Government is needed to promote the best interests of children online.
Commenting on the report, Professor Sonia Livingstone, a specialist adviser to the Lords Communications Committee, said: “The internet has quickly become a necessity not a luxury in children’s lives, and parents, educators and governments are struggling to keep up with the risks and opportunities it brings."
The report calls for an ambitious programme of digital literacy – which children and parents really need to understand the new digital environment. But since we cannot teach young children everything about the fast-changing complexities of the internet, the report also calls for an industry commitment to child-centred design – for services targeted at children and for all those actually used by children."