Mother and daughter, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Janet Ellis today (13th May) launched Internet Matters, a world-leading child internet safety organisation founded by the UK’s four major broadband providers; BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. The not-for-profit organisation sees the ‘big four’ put aside competition and join forces for the first time, to help parents safely navigate the internet with their children. The move will cement the UK’s position as a world-leader on child internet safety, advising parents to ‘learn about it, talk about it, deal with it’.
This morning, Sophie and her mother Janet pushed the button to set the Internet Matters portal (internetmatters.org) live at the launch event at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London. The event was attended by a host of industry leading experts including the Family Safety Online Institute, Professor Sonia Livingstone from the LSE, the Safer Internet Centre, Childnet and the Internet Matters advisory panel.
Research conducted by Internet Matters revealed that 74% of parents want more information and advice about online safety, with their preference for this information being made available to them online. To meet this demand, Internetmatters.org has been created as a one-stop hub, directing parents to valuable help and advice from the leading experts at organisations and charities in the child internet safety field. It will act as a single authoritative resource on child online safety. The initiative will encourage the wider technology industry, experts, policy makers and parents to work together to establish world-leading resources for parents which are effectively sign-posted. The idea is not to scare monger but to equip parents with the information they need to make informed decisions.
Harnessing the reach of the four major broadband providers, which extends to 90% of internet households in the UK, Internet Matters is expected to become a household name. Each broadband provider has its own child internet safety programme and network level parental controls, and Internet Matters.org will complement these activities and provide a forum for learnings and best practice.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor said: “Children these days are so lucky to grow up with access to the internet, it’s an amazing place for learning and discovery. Mum and I feel really strongly about internet safety and are proud to be working together with Internet Matters to make sure parents know how to get advice. Today’s parents need to deal with issues that didn’t even exist when we were growing up. There’s a lot for us to learn with everything changing so fast. I’m careful to keep an eye on my two boys, especially my 10-year-old who is at that age when he’s starting to explore the internet on his own. I totally identify with the 74% of parents who want more information on internet safety”.
Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters said: “The internet is an amazing tool for children of all ages and is an overwhelming force for good. Internet Matters will help parents to understand the issues children can face online whether they’re five or 15. We believe this is the first time that the major broadband providers in any country have joined forces for such a venture. The UK is therefore leading the way when it comes to child internet safety.”