Friday, August 29, 2008

In a jam over internet services for children


In a jam over internet services for children

Until recently parents had a freely available internet site that they could allow their children to access with complete confidence (Parents to be shown how to protect children online, March 27). Parents could rest assured that their children would not come across unsuitable images, violent or other harmful material. Kids liked it, thousands were logging on to great educational activities that were fun and stimulating - and there was a lot more on the way. It was called BBC jam, a ground-breaking project with the BBC fulfilling its charter obligations to "promote education and learning" and "deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technology and services".

This was Britain and its creative industries leading the world with something to be proud of. Unfortunately, last year it was scrapped, despite its success, years of careful planning and £100m investment of public money. Its a bit rich for the government to now be expressing concern for children, when they allowed powerful corporate lobbying to undermine and destroy an internet service that met the needs of our young people.
Richard Pietrasik
Ex-head of education, BBC jam

Computer games are already rated by the British Board of Film Classification. I have in front of me Halo 3 (rated 15) and Bioshock (rated 18). As a teacher I encounter many children who have received 18-rated games for Christmas. It seems that despite the clear ratings, children are not protected from parents who see totally unsuitable video games as a cheap babysitter.
Rory O'Flanagan

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