Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

NSPCC chief: Online firms should face fines if they fail to keep children safe

Social media sites should face fines if they fail to protect children and young people from adult and harmful content, the head of the NSPCC has said

 

Peter Wanless called on the next government to place sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Askfm under “robust scrutiny” from a new watchdog “with bite” to ensure they shield children from pornography, violent content, child abusers and online bullying.

Just as films and television are regulated, so too should the sites where many children spend hours browsing and communicating with others, said Mr Wanless, the charity’s chief executive.

He issued the demands after a survey by the NSPCC found four in five youngsters felt social media companies needed to do more to protect them while using their services.

In a letter to The Times, he said it was time for the Government to take “bold action to hold internet companies to account”.

“Online safety is one of the biggest issues for children and young people today and one that the Government must tackle head on,” he wrote.

“It is high time for online companies to come under robust scrutiny from an independent regulator with bite and to face fines when they fail to keep children safe.”

On Thursday MPs passed the Digital Economy Bill, which includes a code of conduct for social media giants to tackle illicit material.

The Government is reportedly considering fining companies who do not comply with the code.

Mr Wanless said whichever party wins the election should adopt the same approach to regulating sites as the film watchdog, the British Board of Film Classification, and Ofcom, which regulates television and radio broadcasts.

Like films, television series box sets and games, sites should carry age ratings to reflect their content, he said.

Mr Wanless also called on social media sites to offer specially designed accounts to protect youngsters with default privacy settings, content filters and guards against “groomers”.

“We already protect children from viewing inappropriate or violent content at the cinema and on television,” he said

“Given that today’s children spend their free time online, why do we not afford them the same protections in this sphere?”

The NSPCC conducted a study as part of the its Net Aware initiative to inform parents of the risks and issues with sites their children are using.

Of the 1,696 11- to 18-year-olds who took part, 1,380 said social media sites needed to do more to protect them from inappropriate or harmful content.

The social networks Facebook and Askfm and chat sites Omegle and IMVU were rated the riskiest by children in the study.

Related entries

Your Guide to the European Championships

Your Guide to the European Championships

Like it or loathe it, the next few weeks are going to be all about football. If you want the basics to keep up with your footy crazy kids we’ve compiled this handy guide to give you an overview of the upcoming European Championships. UEFA.com What are the European...

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcome a new baby girl

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcome a new baby girl

Welcome to the world Baby Lilibet. The Dad.info team loves a baby and the new daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is just the good news we need. https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily/status/1401614927236841474 Named for her grandmother and great-grandmother, Lilibet...

Latest entries

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a parent of a 10 year old who is rapidly approaching the age where he will be getting his own phone, I’m concerned about ensuring he isn’t exposed to a cavalcade of disturbing things online. I’m worrying about bullying, about him being contacted or making friends...

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

The Olympics have started! Despite a lack of fans (crowd noise will be piped into the stadiums instead) the event is still as important as ever and makes for great summer viewing. So at Dad.Info we have rounded up 21 interesting facts about Japan to both liberally...

How To Have A Holiday At Home

How To Have A Holiday At Home

If you’re anything like me and flip flopped about for ages, unsure what to do about booking a summer holiday this year amid constantly- changing Covid news, then you’ll be finding yourself at home for the summer. But while we may not be able to dip our toes in the...

Pin It on Pinterest