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Bubblewrapped kids fall prey to net predators

TV guru says: Keep kids safe, lock 'em out

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The former TV parenting guru leading a government review into violent video games and internet predators says parents need to get their kids out of the house if they want to keep them safe from net creeps.

Dr Tanya Byron, former overseer of The House of Tiny Tearaways, said over-protective parents were partly to blame for leaving kids vulnerable to abusers stalking the web. By shying away from any risk, parents ensured that kids would not know to protect themselves from web paedophiles, not to mention all the other demons of the modern popular imagination.

Vigilance is important, said Byron: “But we can’t wrap our children in bubblewrap because then we remove the opportunity for them to live life.”

Of course, some might suggest a layer of bubblewrap is the minimum needed to help kids safely negotiate the joy-rider plagued, bullet-sprayed, conker-free streetscape confronting the youth of today. Indeed, kevlar body armour and a small tank might be more appropriate in certain of our major cities.

Apparently Byron told a conference kicking off the review yesterday that she had kids as young as seven emailing her to tell her about their experiences of the web and video games.

We can only hope that those really are genuine children, not middle-aged men attempting to ingratiate themselves with one of the UK's most telegenic psychologists for their own sordid ends. Then again, these are internet and games industry lobbyists we’re talking about.

Byron has given the kids, and any other interested parties, till November 30 to submit their evidence. If you’ve got something to say on the subject, go here The final report, sponsored by the Department of Culture Media and Sport and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, is due out next March. ®

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