Government launches £9m internet safety ad campaign

Plans for an advertising campaign teaching parents and children about the dangers of the internet were revealed yesterday by Kevin Brennan, the minister for children and families .

The campaign, set to launch by the end of the summer, will cost the government 9 million. It not only includes advertising about the internet, but is also considering pushing for clearer ratings on video games as well.

"Internet and video games are an everyday part of many young people's lives," Brennan noted. "Enjoying the benefits should come hand in hand with managing risks."

Suggestions for this campaign followed research released by psychologist Dr Tanya Byron earlier this year, calling for the creation of the internet safety council as well as stricter ratings for video games, including lowering the statutory age at which games must go before the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to 12.

"I want parents to be empowered," Dr Byron told the BBC. "I want clear logos on all games so parents can make an informed choice."

The plan also calls for the establishment of a new UK Council for Child Internet Safety, which would gather representatives from across the industry, as well as children's groups and parents' panels reporting to ministers.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said that the video game industry has been incredibly successful, as has the internet, but though they are quickly growing, safety measures need to be put in place.

"Just because these technologies are fast-moving and exciting doesn't mean that we shouldn't have appropriate safeguards," she explained. "By taking forward Dr Byron's recommendations, we will help children to safely navigate the internet and allow parents to make informed decisions about what is appropriate for their child."