Skip to main content

Safer Children in a Digital World

The Report of the Byron Review

Technology offers extraordinary opportunities for all of society including children and young people. The internet allows for global exploration which can also bring risks, often paralleling the offline world. Video gaming offers a range of exciting interactive experiences for children, however some of these are designed for adults. There is a generational digital divide between parents and children which means that many parents do not feel empowered to manage risks in the digital world in the same way that they do in the ‘real’ world.

New media are often met by public concern about their impact on society and anxiety and polarisation of the debate can lead to emotive calls for action. Indeed, children’s use of the internet and video games has been seen by some as directly linked to violent and destructive behaviour in the young. There are also concerns about excessive use of these technologies by children at the expense of other activities and family interaction. As we increasingly keep our children at home because of fears for their safety outside – in what some see as a ‘risk-averse culture’ – they will play out their developmental drives to socialize and take risks in the digital world.