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Safer Internet Centre takes over Secretariat of APPG on Social Media

Social media has enormous potential for good, but we must be “alive” to the potential dangers as more and more people go online.

Social media has enormous potential for good, but we must be “alive” to the potential dangers as more and more people go online.

The UK Safer Internet Centre comprising three leading child protection charities, is taking on a “vital” new role which will help cement children’s online safety at the heart of Government policy. 

The UK Safer Internet Centre is taking over as the new Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media. The APPG on Social Media was established in 2018 by the Royal Society for Public Health.

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading organisations: Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL. It was set up to promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people.

The APPG is chaired by Labour MP Chris Elmore (Ogmore), and is the cross-party group dedicated to bringing about policy changes to tackle potentially harmful aspects of social media. 

Chris Elmore MP, Chair of the APPG for Social Media said: "I'm delighted to be working alongside the Safer Internet Centre at such a critical time for protecting people, and particularly children, from online harms.

"Through working closely with the Internet Watch Foundation in recent years, I know that their unwavering commitment to taking action on online harms will hugely benefit the work of our cross-party group.

"I'd like to pay tribute to the fantastic team at the Royal Society for Public Health for the critically important work they have done alongside the APPG since it was established. Without their leadership and commitment to working constructively with politicians of all political colours, I have no doubt that the government's proposed action on tackling online harms would not be as comprehensive as it is today.

"Of course, we need this to go even further though and I will be working hard in the weeks and months ahead with the Safer Internet Centre to ensure that ministers do not renege on the commitments they have made to social media users and respond to the inevitable future challenges ahead." 

 “At the UK Safer Internet Centre, we have been bridging the gap between child protection, technology and policy and have been an instrumental part in helping keep children safe online.”

Susie Hargreaves OBE, is a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation.

She said the new role will maximise the UK Safer Internet Centre’s wealth of technical, operational and child protection experience, and will “bridge the gap” between technology and policy. 

She said the coronavirus pandemic has underlined the importance of making the internet a safer place for everyone as people turn to digital spaces while social distancing. 

Ms Hargreaves said: “Keeping children safe online has never been a more urgent issue, and the challenges ahead of us are very real.

 “At the UK Safer Internet Centre, we have been bridging the gap between child protection, technology and policy and have been an instrumental part in helping keep children safe online.”

Ms Hargreaves said social media can be an “immense power for good” and has been a “lifeline” during the coronavirus lockdown but noted that children’s safety must be paramount.

She said: “Without a doubt, we all have so much to be thankful about with the internet and social media. It has, for many people stuck at home, been a real lifeline, a way to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, and to boost mental wellbeing. 

“It can be an immense power for good, but we must be alive to the potential for misuse and do all we can to make it as safe as we can for our children. 

“We are very excited to be taking on this vital role and will be bringing all our experience and expertise to bear as the new Secretariat of the APPG on Social Media.

“The Royal Society for Public Health has done an incredible job as Secretariat, and we hope to build on their work to continue making the internet a more positive and, crucially, safer place.”

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