Internet safety council meets

The UK Council on Internet Safety meets for the first time today – six months ahead of schedule.

The body’s creation was recommended by a review on protecting children in the digital age conducted by Dr Tanya Byron and completed on March 27th.

It was supposed to meet for the first time next year but the government, fully accepting Dr Byron’s proposals, accelerated the process.

She will be attending today’s council alongside children’s secretary Ed Balls, culture secretary Andy Burnham and home secretary Jacqui Smith.

It is hoped experts within industry and children’s charities will work together on the council to ensure children’s safety. The government’s previous efforts had been focused on the Home Office’s task force on child protection on the internet.

The Byron review also recommended that video games be given film-style classifications and called for industry commitments to codes of practice on user-generated content and social-networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Explaining the government’s motivation in May, culture minister Margaret Hodge said: “In a few short years the internet has become a huge part of our cultural lives, opening up a world of opportunity for young people to access culture, increase their knowledge or simply be entertained. The freedom the internet brings must be balanced by appropriate safeguards.”

A summit on child internet safety will be hosted by prime minister Gordon Brown next spring.