The Government is set to publish guidelines on Friday on the dangers of social networking sites for children in the latest move to scare the bejesus out of parents all over the UK.
The 79-page document makes recommendations that sites like Facebook, Bebo and the other usual suspects should be forced to carry adverts for the 999 emergency service to remind kids of what they can do if they sense the fiddlings of a paedophile out there in the ether.
It also suggests that sites should also provide software that parents can download which will limit certain levels of access or simply the amount of time their offspring can spend social networking. Presumably this will simply be borrowed from Google China.
The emergency services are in for a serious increase in the amount of prank calls. The helpful little 999 ads will be wonderful reminders to the 3 million children on these sites that there indeed are other ways to pass the time.
There’s nothing particularly terrifying about this document itself but it does set off those little alarm bells of censorship. It’s probably more to do with the fact that the authorities have to be seen to be doing something about these high profile, low incident issues but nobody likes watching our virtual freedom diminished. Today, it’s parents in charge but who’ll be limiting our access tomorrow?