Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Member of Parliament for Torfaen, has issued a statement for Safer Internet Day 2021.
Celebrated globally, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to speak to family and friends about the safe, responsible and positive use of technology, whilst recognising potential harms. Over 1,500 organisations across the UK are taking part in supporting the day, including schools and youth groups, working to engage children, young people, parents and carers.
This year, Safer Internet Day takes place amidst a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, when internet use amongst young people has surged. Research conducted by UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) found that over three-quarters of young people now say that being online is a more important part of their life than ever before. With as many as 65% of them relying on the internet for home learning, empowering them by equipping young people with the strategies to spot and speak out against harmful and misleading content online has become more important than ever.
The pandemic has also exposed the challenge of misinformation, and the risk of this to all our health. In his statement, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP asked Torfaen residents to always check the source before sharing information about COVID-19 and vaccines.
The Torfaen MP commented:
“Today, on Safer Internet Day, we are reminded of the urgent need for an Online Harms Bill.
“We have seen how the anti-vaccine movement has been allowed to grow to dangerous levels, spreading misinformation that is putting lives at risk, and we know that many continue to be subjected to vile abuse on social media, including children.
“But the Conservative Government has decided not to bring forward vital legislation to tackle these risks. In their absence, it is important that we remain vigilant against online harms by, for example, checking the source of information we share
“Labour will not stop calling for proper, online protections to be enshrined in law.”