The high profile conviction of Mathew Falder has yet again highlighted the vulnerabilities children face online. Falder was an academic who led a double life as an online paedophile. His crimes were about as sick as anyone dare imagine and led 4 of his victims to try and kill themselves.
I thought I’d try and find out more about where the government is in relation to improving the safety of children online and I was drawn to a recent report from the NSPCC which is essentially a review of the governments response to the 2008 Byron Report.
The Byron Report
In 2008 Professor Tanya Byron produced the report “Safer children in a digital world” and made 38 very clear and sensible recommendations to the government, that if brought in would significantly improve the safety of children online.
Clearly these recommendations were never going to be implemented overnight, but how about now that we are 10 years down the line? Surely this is enough time for the government to get their act together and get these recommendations implemented!
The NSPCC has recently produced another report to find out exactly where the governments is on this “10 years on from the Byron Report”.
Here are he headline figures:
Of the 38 recommendations reviewed:
- sixteen were implemented,
- eleven were not implemented;
- seven were partially implemented;
- for four recommendations, the landscape has changed too much to accurately judge.
So of the 34 recommendations that remain relevant, over 52% were either not implemented or only partially implemented.
This makes for very disappointing reading, while some progress has been made in some key areas, strategic inroads to education and curriculum are lacking significantly.
The author of the 2008 report, Tanya Byron says;
Much has changed over the last decade, but one thing has not: Government is failing to do enough to protect children online
I firmly believe education is one of the biggest tools we have to help prevent children being abused and exploited online. It’s almost impossible to prevent children having access to digital devices nowadays, so we have to focus on teaching them how to use them safely.
The 2008 report made a number of recommendations regarding education, sadly the recent NSPCC report suggests very little has been done by the governmental take these recommendations seriously.
More must be done
This needs to be a priority, the conviction of Mathew Falder was a triumph for the National Crime Agency, but it was also a very challenging and complex case, there simply aren’t the resources to catch everyone and it is a sad fact that there are many more people out there just like Falder.