The Times, Letter to the Editor: Online Child Safety

24 May 2022

5Rights and other children’s sector organisations stand united with faith communities in support of a kinder digital world for children. Today, in a letter to The Times, they are jointly calling on the government to make an early commitment on this matter to ensure the passage of the Online Safety Bill gives children the digital world they deserve.

The Letter to the Editor as it appears in The Times is here and below. To view the letter in full, see The Archbishop of York’s site here

Sir, The Online Safety Bill offers a rare opportunity to protect children and enable them to flourish online. We support the government’s ambition to make Britain the safest place to be online through the bill. Digital technologies have the potential to inspire children, inform them and unleash their creativity. We do not wish to see them locked out of the digital world but their safety and autonomy online must be protected. The bill should ensure that the tech sector creates services that are age-appropriate by design and default and companies must be accountable when they fail to do so.

We urge the government to amend the bill to ensure protection for children wherever they are online; mandatory standards of privacy, security and efficacy of age-checking; a standalone set of safety duties to children set out in a single binding, enforceable, code of practice; explicit mention of children’s rights; and access to data in the case of a child’s death or incapacitation. The faith communities and the children’s sector are united in supporting a kinder digital world for children.

Baroness Kidron, founder and chair, 5Rights Foundation; the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York; the Right Rev Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough and chairman of Caritas Social Action Network; Dr Deesha Chadha, NEC member, Hindu Forum of Britain; Rajnish Kashyap MCICM, general secretary/director, Hindu Council UK (HCUK); Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Rabbi at Bromley Reform Synagogue, Clarity Partnership;** Dr Penny Duquenoy, Just Algorithms Action Group; Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain; Julie Siddiqi, founder, Together We Thrive; The Rev Sonia Hicks, president of the Methodist Conference; Barbara Easton, vice-president of the Methodist Conference; Daud Irfan, Methodist Church in Britain youth president; Kirsty McNeill, executive director for policy at Save the Children; John Carr, Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety; Anna Kettley, deputy executive director for advocacy, programmes and safeguarding, UNICEF UK; His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain; Iman Atta, director -Tell MAMA; Rabbi David Mason, Muswell Hill United Synagogue; Rabbi Charley Baginsky, CEO, Liberal Judaism; Rabbis Rebecca Birk and Rene Pfertzel, chairs of the Liberal Movement Rabbis; Raghad Altikriti, chair of the Muslim Association of Britain; the Right Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford; the Right Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham; Iftikhar Awan, president, Muslims for Britain