For too long social networks have failed to prioritise children’s safety online and left them exposed to grooming, abuse, and harmful content.
The Government’s proposal for tough new internet safety laws is a hugely significant commitment that once enacted, can make the UK a world pioneer in protecting children online.
The NSPCC first called for independent regulation of social networks in April 2017, and recently shared how police forces across England and Wales had recorded 5,000 online child grooming offences in just 18 months.
It’s about time social networks were forced to act through this legally binding duty to protect children, backed up with hefty punishments if they fail to do so.
Parents agree – our research highlights how nine out of ten parents support regulation of social networks to make them legally responsible for keeping children safe.
For us this is simply question of enforcement – platforms already accept that harmful content shouldn’t be on their sites, but they have consistently failed to do enough to tackle it. They need to be forced to uphold an agreed set of rules so that children are as safe online as they are offline.
We are grateful to all those who supported our Wild West Web campaign over the last 12 months and pleased that the Government has listened to our detailed proposals for new social media laws, which we published in February. This included a regulator with legal powers to investigate tech firms, social networks meeting a set of minimum child safeguarding standards, and deploying tough sanctions for failures to protect children online.
We will be watching closely as these new rules are implemented to see whether they are as effective as possible in protecting children.