Skip to main content

Internet: Safety

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL14818, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that children and their parents or carers have effective education about internet safety, specifically online abuse and sexual exploitation, and about what healthy relationships look like in the digital world.

Answered on

26 April 2021

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (RSHE) which includes teaching about online safety and is compulsory in all state-funded schools in England.

Health Education includes specific content about online safety and harms and includes being taught what positive, healthy and respectful online relationships look like, the effect of online actions on others and knowing how to recognise and display respectful behaviour in an age appropriate way. As with all curriculum teaching, schools have the flexibility to tailor their teaching to specific cohorts and to the needs of their pupils.

The RSHE statutory guidance sets out that at primary school, pupils will be taught about online relationships and being safe in an online context. At secondary school, pupils will be taught about online and media and internet safety and harms. A full breakdown of content can be found in the RSHE statutory guidance and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

To further support this, the department published Teaching Online Safety in School which highlights potentials harms and risks and suggests how they might be addressed through the curriculum. The risks include how content can be used and shared, grooming, pornography and live streaming: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-online-safety-in-schools.

Guides for parents and carers of primary and secondary age pupils that schools and parents can use to help them with teaching about RSHE can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

The new RSHE subjects complement the embedded computing curriculum, which covers the principles of online safety at all key stages, including teaching on how to use technology safely, responsibly, respectfully and securely, how to keep personal information private, and where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.