When our four children went to their bedrooms, as parents we knew this was a safe, private space. That tells you something about my age, and more importantly, how much has changed in one generation.  Now with technology anyone might be there!

If you haven’t yet watched The Social Dilemma please do. www.sundance.org/images/filmguide/2020/200787-1...

The very people responsible for applying social and behavioural science to help build the big digital platforms are now alarmed about what they created.

So alarmed, they do not want their own children on those platforms, and recommend strong surveillance of online activity.

When today’s children go to their rooms with their technology, anyone…good….bad….friendly….harmful….can be in the room with them.

Today’s big digital platforms were not designed for child safety.  They are the 21st century addition to risks for the abuse and exploitation of children. And they bring expanded consequences for undermining mental health, self esteem, and seduction into untrustworthy “relationships”.

As a lifetime social justice advocate, I absolutely see and promote all the positives of the internet with benefits for equalising  access to knowledge and resources and enabling daily life.

That is why I am proud to be the Chair of The Good Things Foundation, in Australia, part of an international social change charity working to improve lives through digital. The impact and difference we are making here, and in the UK, working with community partners to benefit vulnerable groups, is profound.

The Australian Government makes a high value investment for us to deliver the #BeConnected program for local communities to support older citizens and help them get safely online.

Since 2017 the Network has engaged 750,000 people in Australia to learn digital skills. There is much more to do with 2.5 million still not using the internet, and many online but limited users.

In Australia we are also fortunate to have the esafety Commission Bouquets to our government for this investment, and applause to the Commissioner and team who do such a great job with tips sheets, research and resources for being safe online.

As The Social Dilemma alerts us though, we, and parents, need more.

We need government to regulate those behind the screens who have eyes on our children, and how they are influencing them, not only when they are in their bedrooms and private places, but when ever they are online.

As citizens, we need to understand more about what is being created, how it impacts us, and how it can be regulated.

We must ensure that lives are indeed only improved, children are not harmed, and everyone is able to get online and benefit from digital.