Online safety ‘paramount’ says children’s parliament

Children must be kept safe as online technology advances, the politicians of the future said yesterday. Cyber experts were urged to make security for youngsters paramount by members of the Children’s Parliament during a special session of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Metaverse and Web, held in the House of Lords.

Its Prime Minister, 11-year-old Harry Acheampong, said: “The metaverse is a quantum leap into our next generation of computing.”

But he added: “Like every technology, the metaverse comes with risks.

“The invention of the internet came with great opportunities and risks, such as online bullying, harassment, internet fraud, and child grooming.

“We should not walk into the dark with this technology. Regulators should ensure that the metaverse is properly regulated to keep children safe.”

As well as the young MPs, guests included Tara Collingwood-Williams, XR lecturer at London’s Goldsmiths University, Internet Matters chief Carolyn Bunting, Tim Scott, of Roblox and Colour in Tech’s Ashleigh Ainsley.

The Children’s Parliament, backed by the Daily Express, was the brainchild of MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death in 2021.

Anna Firth, who took over his Southend West seat, said: “Children are our future, so it’s vital their voices are heard on how best to democratise the internet and design the safest, yet most creative, democratic, future
collective virtual space.

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