Government’s online safety council for children will now look after adults

The council will focus on combating online harm, extremism, and violence against women, among other areas

child using a smartphone possibly in an abusive situation

The government has announced it will expand the scope of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to cover the wider UK population.

Focusing on reinforcing digital safety for everyone across the country, the new UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) will prioritise areas of online harm such as cyberbullying and sexual exploitation, as well as tackle the spread of radicalism and extremism across the internet.

Also trying to mitigate violence against girls and women, hate crime and hate speech, as well as discrimination that contravenes the Equality Act 2010 manifesting online, the UKCIS will encourage collaboration between more than 200 organisations representing the government, regulators, the digital industry, law enforcement, academia and charities.

"Only through collaborative action will the UK be the safest place to be online," said Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries.

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"By bringing together key stakeholders, from the tech giants to the third sector, UKCIS will be the cornerstone of this effort; driving the development of technical solutions and equipping UK citizens to tackle online harms."

Since its conception in 2008, the UKCCIS has run a wide array of campaigns and put forward policy proposals that aim to improve the online safety and welfare for children in schools and colleges across the UK.

Notable work includes infamous proposals for the default filtering of online pornography, introduced in 2012, while more recently the organisation has issued guidance on 'sexting'.

Plans to expand the UKCCIS were first outlined in the government's Internet Safety Strategy green paper in October last year, with an application process now underway to appoint board members to the new, beefier organisation. The consultation also covered introducing a social media code of practice, a social media levy, examining young people's use of dating websites, and exploring how new technology can be used to curb online home.

Comprising co-ministerial chairs from the department for culture, media and sport, the home office and the department for education, the board will retain an interest in combating online threats posed to the safety and welfare of children. Its remit will also expand, however, in a variety of areas to improve the online experience for the adult population.

The deadline for applications to sit on the UKCIS' executive board will close on 3 September.

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