IT’S a modern-day truism that the internet has revolutionised our lives. Nothing has changed the way we live more than a technology invented by a Briton – Sir Tim Berners-Lee – just 27 years ago.

Which is why I fight hard for everyone to have a quick, efficient connection to the internet - via broadband - wherever they live. For work, learning and leisure, the internet – in practical terms the world wide web created by Sir Tim in 1990 – is essential.

Its power is mind-boggling awesome and so much good has come from mankind’s use of it but that power can also be used inappropriately – to propagate terrorism, to commit fraud or simply abuse people.

So it is vitally important that we all understand the internet’s power, to use it responsibly, and protect ourselves from those who would misuse it to harm us, our family, friends and fellow citizens.

Another truism is that it is the younger generation which knows its way round the internet in a way that frequently baffles their grandparents and even their parents.

And so it follows that children need to learn about safe, responsible use of the internet at an early age.

Last week I saw this in action at Broomfield Primary School in Northallerton where I took part in a special assembly for Internet Legends run by Google and ParentZone which explained the dangers of the internet to the children in a fun and unscary way.

Giant foam hands, music and two very energetic presenters encouraging lots of interaction got across four key points:

  • Think before you share – only share things you would happy for everyone to see;
  • Protect your stuff – why passwords and privacy settings are so important;
  • Check it’s for real – not everything is true and how can you spot scams;
  • Respect each other – be nice and report bad behaviour or abuse.

These points bear repeating because many adults don’t do this.

I told the Broomfield children that this summer because some MPs and their staff didn’t observe all of these rules the Parliamentary computer network was attacked and out of action for many hours. This is a lesson for all of us!

While on the issue of the internet and connectivity I wanted to alert you to some good news from Ofcom – the UK’s telecommunications regulator.

It has announced a new code on broadband advertising particularly around the vital matter of speed. When shopping around for the best deal, people want to know what they’re buying, and what speeds to expect.

So Ofcom intends plan to close the gap between what’s advertised and what’s delivered, giving customers a fuller picture before they commit to a contract.

It also intends to making it easier to walk away from a contract, without penalty, when companies fail to provide the speeds they promise.

Ofcom’s plans include proposals for better speed information at the point of sale and in contracts, by reflecting the slower speeds people can experience at ‘peak’ times; and by ensuring they always provide a minimum guaranteed speed before sale.

There’s more information about Ofcom’s proposals here