I’m hugely encouraged by the landmark plans announced by the Government to give Ofcom powers to regulate social networks. The safety of children online has been compromised for too long, but this breakthrough could pave the way in setting a global standard in protecting children in their digital worlds.
The Government has shown a commitment to leading change by standing up to big tech firms. Now, Ministers must move swiftly to ensure that Ofcom is given the necessary powers, allowing it to enforce substantial fines to social networks not doing enough to prevent adults grooming children on their sites.
The internet is a wonderful place for young people to learn and social networks form a big part of their friendships, enabling them to seek support from peers. However, no longer should children be exposed to harmful content and abuse because of a slap-dash approach by tech giants.
It’s why we’ve long called for, through our Wild West Web campaign, an independent regulator, safe accounts for children and detailed reporting on how tech firms are keeping children safe.
An estimated 90 online child sexual offences have taken place each day since the Government published the Online Harms White Paper last April. It’s gone on too long and social networks must not be allowed to continue dragging their heels.
NSPCC, Local Campaigns Manager for the South West of England