Online Harms White Paper

The Government today published the Online Harms White Paper, following last year’s Green Paper, published as part of the UK Internet Safety Strategy. What’s new? What’s changed? What do you think?

We’ve been busy reading in the office today….

If you want to read the full 102 pages – and why wouldn’t you? – or the shorter executive summary, see them both on this gov.uk page. The proposals are open to public consultation.

As there are so many overviews already online, I shan’t try and produce another, but to give some handy links to go and read exactly what you are after, in general and for schools.

Firstly, for some overviews and a take on how the media is covering the launch, you may want to read this BBC article or this from the Telegraph. Press coverage is largely positive with many bodies welcoming the policies and strategies; where there is criticism it largely relates to the feasibility of certain proposals or civil liberty concerns around privacy and censorship.

One key proposal relates to a new regulator for online safety in the UK. Although the White Paper does not specify who this will be, it mentions Ofcom as a likely interim regulator, so you may be interested in this speech from the Ofcom CEO. In it Sally Martin outlines how a regulator might approach online safety and some of the challenges it would expect to face.

For an overview of the kinds of harms which the White Paper is trying to combat, see Ofcom’s research with adults, or LGfL DigiSafe’s survey of 40,000 young people.

A typical comment from the 40,000 pupils we surveyed for Hopes and Streams

Although there is lots to it, we recommend you have a look at the government’s proposals to see if you want to reply to the consultation as a school or individual.

Meanwhile if you would like more information or support to use with pupils or parents on some of the topics raised which may be discussed more widely as a result of the publication of the White Paper, here are some handy links to collections of materials that may help you (we could go on…):

Those links address the general themes, but why not engage pupils in what they think needs to be done as a result of the Internet Safety Strategy. For a very relevant discussion starter with children and young people, you could use these proposals from 5rights on how new apps, sites and games should be designed (screenshot below from p6 of this report). Show them this list and I’m sure there will be plenty of useful feedback!




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