Bishop of Gloucester – crucial to work with young people on internet and social media reforms

On 7th November 2017, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.’ The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate, which was also reported in the Telegraph newspaper.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, like other noble Lords, I am very grateful to the Select Committee for this report, and I agree with so much that has been said already. So many young people today source their identities from social media and internet advertising, which has resulted in low self-esteem and poor mental health. Over the last 18 months or so, I have been spearheading a campaign called Liedentity, which is focused around body image and challenging the lie that our value comes from our physical appearance. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester – crucial to work with young people on internet and social media reforms”

Bishop of Chelmsford says digital world needs children’s best interests at heart

On 7th November 2017, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.’ The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who serves on the Communications Committee, spoke in the debate. His speech is below, and was also reported in the Telegraph and Mail newspapers.

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, it is a great joy to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron. I support the amendments she is pioneering through the House. They are extremely important. It is also a great honour, and a great education, to serve on the Select ​Committee on Communications. As other members of it have said, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Best, for the admirable and skilful way he led us through this. I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, as our new chair.

So much in this report is critical to the sort of world we want to live in, the well-being of our nation, our public life and particularly our children. In his opening speech the noble Lord, Lord Best, outlined disturbingly well the challenges and dangers. Although I welcome the initial responses we have heard from the Government, much more still needs to be done to join all this up and make sure the needs of the child are put at the centre. Among the many important recommendations we offer, I draw attention to just two, because they are important in themselves and illustrate the larger, central point of our report—that government must take up the challenge to ensure that all those who work in the digital world work together to support the needs of children in an integrated and overarching response. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford says digital world needs children’s best interests at heart”

Bishop of Oxford speaks in debate on strengthening families

On 2nd November 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Farmer, “That this House takes note of A Manifesto to Strengthen Families, published on 6 September.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I warmly welcome the report and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and others involved. I find myself liking it more each time I read it. Its very modesty is its virtue, for a small number of strategic changes can make an immense difference. I speak from a background of nine years as a vicar in outer estate parishes in Halifax, in very poor communities, and seven years before my previous appointment as Bishop of Sheffield serving again some of the most impoverished regions in the country. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford speaks in debate on strengthening families”

Archbishop asks for better early intervention in children’s mental health services

On 30th October 2017 Baroness Walmsley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to ensure that children and young people can obtain timely access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, asked a follow up question:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: I declare an interest as having members of the family who have used child and adolescent mental health services. Does the Minister not agree that the fundamental principle of the NHS is free treatment at the point of need? Does he also agree that one of the major failures in CAMHS—it has been well evidenced by academic studies over the last two years—has been that, because of the shortage of resources, only those with the most critical needs are treated at all, and the early intervention which would help prevent needs becoming critical has been deeply neglected owing to an absence or lack of specialised therapies, particularly talking therapies? Will he confirm that the work on the most critical side is going to be extended so that children and adolescents can get care earlier and more effectively, saving the state money and fulfilling the purposes of the NHS? Continue reading “Archbishop asks for better early intervention in children’s mental health services”

Bishop of Oxford says poorest of poor falling behind, asks Government to act

On 30th October 2017 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the impact of the benefit rate freeze, in the light of the higher rate of inflation than that anticipated in the original impact assessment.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, does the Minister agree that incentivising people back into work and supporting the poorest in our society, including children, are not mutually exclusive? Will she comment on the ways of doing the second alongside the first? Will she also set out the Government’s plans to remedy the current situation, in which the poorest of the poor are falling further behind? Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford says poorest of poor falling behind, asks Government to act”

Bishop of Chelmsford questions plan to set legal age of consent at 13 for giving personal information online

On 10th October 2017 the Bishop of Chelmsford spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Data Protection Bill. He questioned the part setting the age of consent at 13 for giving personal information online in exchange for products and services, suggesting there needed to be more consultation on this.

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Jay, for enabling us to discuss the EU data protection package alongside the Data Protection Bill, but I will address my comments to the Bill.

Although I also welcome the rights and protections for children that the Bill offers, not least the right to be forgotten, there is one very important point of detail where reconsideration is urgently needed, which has already been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, namely the age of consent for children to give their personal information away online in exchange for products and services without a parent or guardian needing to give their permission. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford questions plan to set legal age of consent at 13 for giving personal information online”

Betting firms should be forced to take drastic action to protect children from ads says Bishop of St Albans

On 14th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Chadlington, ‘That this House takes note of the effect of gambling advertisements on children.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Chadlington, for introducing this important debate, which has such implications for young people in our country.

Gambling-related advertising poses a substantial risk of harm to children.

Continue reading “Betting firms should be forced to take drastic action to protect children from ads says Bishop of St Albans”