Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Safer Children in a Digital World

I have been slow in picking up the publication of the Byron Report, Safer Children in a Digital World: an "independent review looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games" (published at the end of March). It was led by the glamourous Dr Tanya Byron ("an expert in these matters and also a mum" says the evidently rather starstruck Secretary of State, Ed Balls, in the launch video) and published by the UK's Department for Children, Schools and Families. There was a call for evidence, which was responded to particularly by computer gamers and those in the gaming industry.

There is a fairly substantial bibliography to the report. The report looks at risks and benefits of the internet, computer games, and online games. There are recommendations about how to improve e-safety for children - a mixture of education (e.g. for parents), increased safeguards (e.g. in schools), industry self-regulation, and regulation. As well as the full report, there is an executive summary, and a version aimed at young people. There are some additional useful documents commissioned for the report: Byron Review Qualitative Research Report (describes research carried out specially for the report); The Impact of the Media on Children and Young People with a particular focus on computer games and the internet (a scholarly research review); a research Literature Review on Child Development; a literature review on brain development in childhood. All are linked from (it doesn't seem to mention information literacy at all, by the way....) The launch video on Youtube is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Leaves/church in Kristianstad, Sweden, May 2008

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