Government launches internet watchdog

The government is set to launch a new internet watchdog group today, in an attempt to protect children from suicide websites, bullying and pornography.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said it will be the biggest coalition of public and private bodies set up to safeguard young people online.

It will teach them about possible dangers, target illegal sites that contain harmful content and establish a code of conduct for sites that allow people to post their own video clips or messages.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) will also tackle violent games and promote responsible advertising online. A report last week showed that the amount of controversial or adult-oriented content available on the internet is still increasing.

"We are determined to do all we can to ensure that the internet environment is safe for children to use," Smith said in a statement ahead of the watchdog's launch in central London.

Reporting directly to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, its 100 members include BT, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Vodafone. A list of all the members is available here.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said the watchdog would help ensure that "what is unacceptable offline should not be acceptable online."


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