Government denies it is demonising the Web

The Home Office insists that new guidelines and a £1m campaign will keep children safe without creating a climate of fear

Home Office minister Hilary Benn has denied that the government's new campaign warning of the dangers of online paedophiles is an attempt to demonise the Internet.

Taking part in an online Web chat organised by BBC Online, Benn insisted that the move will help parents and children to understand how to use the Web safely.

"We're not trying to demonise the Internet," said Benn. "It's a wonderful means of communication. It opens up a whole new world for people who use it but we just want to make sure that children can be protected from those who may use the Internet to try and do them harm."

The £1m campaign will run on TV and radio, and in some Internet chat rooms, for the whole of January. As well as these adverts, the government has also issued guidelines about online safety, which can be seen at www.thinkuknow.co.uk and www.wiseuptothenet.co.uk.

The key messages in these guidelines are that children should never disclose personal details to people they have only met online, and that an adult should always accompany them when they first meet someone they have previously only spoken with on the Internet.


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