MAKING sure the internet is a safe place for kids is vital, an Oxfordshire MP has said.

John Howell MP, the Member of Parliament for the Henley constituency, has said online safety is a real issue and parents need to be at the forefront of making sure children and young people are kept safe while using the internet.

John joined with more than 1,000 schools, charities, and businesses to pledge their support for making the internet a safer place for children and young people.

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February 11 was Safer Internet Day, a globally recognised celebration promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology for young people.

The event, co-ordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC), is celebrated in more than a hundred countries.

New research by the UK SIC reveals the internet is a fundamental part of young people’s identity.

But 25 per cent of 13-17-year olds said they have been targeted with online hate in the last month because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability or gender identity, with 45 per cent of disabled teens and 32 per ent of BAME teens reporting this.

Mr Howell welcomed the work being done by the UK Safer Internet Centre and called for everyone to play their part in making sure children and young people are safe online.

He said: “It is very important that children know how to keep safe on the internet. Part of that is about observing normal courtesies and being polite.

"There is a human being at the other end of the internet who needs to be treated with respect.”

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A spokesperson for the UK Safer Internet Centre said: “It is vital that we reach as many children and their parents and carers as possible."

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities – Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) - which have a 'shared mission' to make the internet a better place for children and young people.