Son gives Brown a lesson in internet supervision

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Indy Politics

A rogue 'tweet' by Gordon Brown's three-year-old son taught him "a big lesson" about the need for parental supervision, the Prime Minister admitted today as he launched an online safety campaign.





Mr Brown drew on an incident last week involving his wife's Twitter account as he hailed a series of new measures being introduced in a bid to protect young surfers.



He was speaking at the formal unveiling of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety's first strategy, which implements recommendations drawn up by TV child psychologist Professor Tanya Byron.



The Click Clever, Click Safe measures include a new slogan - "Zip it. Block it. Flag it" - which campaigners hope will become as familiar to children as the road safety Green Cross Code.



School pupils as young as five will also be taught how to stay safe on the internet as a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2011.



It followed research that one in five of the 99% of eight to 17-year-olds who the web had come across inappropriate content and a third said their parents do not monitor their online activities.



The Prime Minister said last week's intervention by younger son Fraser, which caused a serious stir on the net, had shown him how important supervision was.



"Last week, the people who follow Sarah, my wife, on Twitter received a message of gobbledegook which my younger son had bashed out on the keys and then pressed send while she was out of the room," he told the audience.



"Within an hour, the Downing Street press office was called to ask if she had been the victim of a hacker, the BBC was reporting a mysterious 'tweet', and the online world was asking about various conspiracy theories.



"It started with our mistake and, of course, it was a mistake not to supervise the internet and we were taught a big lesson as a result of that.



"Tanya Byron has often said that to leave a child unsupervised on the internet is like leaving a child at the deep end of a swimming pool without proper supervision.



"I think we have all got to learn the lessons from some of the mistakes that we have made."



Mrs Brown has over a million followers on the site and they were bemused to receive the missive: "fvdfzsrsazxzzxcvbnmadgfhjjkqwrtyuuuiop".



Shortly afterwards she explained the origins of the tweet, posting that: "In future I will turn my computer off when I am not using it - to save energy and avoid junior tweet interference."

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