Culture, Media and Sport Committee

5 December 2007, Session 2007-08


The Committee is announcing today a new inquiry into the potential risks from harmful material on the Internet and in video games, with the following terms of reference:

The benefits and opportunities offered to consumers, including children and young people, and the economy by technologies such as the Internet, video games and mobile phones.

The potential risks to consumers, including children and young people, from exposure to harmful content on the Internet or in video games. The Committee is particularly interested in the potential risks posed by:

  • “Cyber bullying”;

  • user generated content, including content that glorifies guns and gang violence;

  • the availability of personal information on social networking sites;

  • content that incites racial hatred, extremism or terrorism; and

  • content that exhibits extreme pornography or violence.

The tools available to consumers and industry to protect people from potentially harmful content on the Internet and in video games.

The effectiveness of the existing regulatory regime in helping to manage the potential risks from harmful content on the Internet and in video games.

Written submissions are invited from interested parties; these should be sent to Daniel Dyball, Committee Specialist, at the address below by Wednesday 30 January 2008.

The Committee will accept as submissions (or as part of submissions) responses to the Byron Review of children and new technology.

The Committee, however, intends that its inquiry be broader in scope than the Byron Review as the Committee will examine the impact of content on consumers in general, rather than focusing solely on the impact on children and young people.

It is expected that oral evidence sessions will be held in February and March 2008.

Guidance on submissions

1. Our strong preference is for submissions to be in Word or rich text format (not as a PDF document) and sent by e-mail to [email protected], although letters will also be accepted. Submissions sent by post should be sent to Daniel Dyball, Committee Specialist, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA. Please include a contact name, postal address and telephone number in the body of the e-mail or in the letter.

2. If the submission is from an organisation rather than an individual, it should briefly explain the nature and membership of the organisation. It is helpful to the Committee if paragraphs are numbered for ease of reference and if longer submissions include an executive summary, ideally no more than one page long. Submissions should be as short as is reasonably consistent with conveying the relevant information: for most submissions, six pages can be regarded as an appropriate maximum. Further guidance on preferred format can be found at:

3. Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.

4. Please bear in mind that Committees do not normally investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.

5. Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the Committee unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.