Ruth Moss has fought for online safety since her teenage daughter took her own life.
A research nurse from Edinburgh has been recognised as an Honorary Member of Council by the NSPCC after years of hard work campaigning for tighter regulations on online safety for children.
In 2013, Ruth Moss’ daughter Sophie, took her own life aged just 13, after being exposed to self-harm and suicide content on social networks and talking to older men online.
Since 2017, Ruth has been working with the NSPCC to raise awareness for a number of campaigns including those calling for changes in regulation regarding the online safety of children.
She said: “Initially, I was invited along to the council meeting to talk about the work I’ve been doing from a volunteer’s perspective alongside Andy Burrows, head of online safety for NSPCC. I’m always keen to get involved and happy to promote the reasoning behind the message of online safety. These things can happen to any families – even the best of parents can still get into trouble on this issue.
“I then heard I’d been awarded as an honorary council member and I was just delighted. I don’t think I’ve ever won an award before, so I was really chuffed and extremely honoured.”
Ruth has been heavily involved in NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign over the last few years. A petition, signed by almost 46,000 people, was handed to Downing Street in June calling for statutory regulation so that social networks have a legal duty of care to protect every child.
Earlier this year, the UK government published its White Paper, setting out how it plans to keep children safe online which is set to be a significant step towards a safer internet.
Ruth continued: “Social networks should have a duty of care to protect children and vulnerable people from damaging material and self-regulation is clearly not working.
“The protection of our children is too important to leave to the goodwill of large, profit-orientated organisations. Statutory regulation is needed and as a matter of urgency.
“I don’t see myself as an expert technically, but all I can do is speak about my experience and what I think should happen.”
Ruth also set up a tribute fund in honour of Sophie and since 2014 has raised over £19,000 for Childline. She has completed sponsored runs, challenges and even hosted a royal wedding themed party to continuously add to the fund.
Ruth continued: “Compared to the work that I’ve put in on this, I feel my contribution has been comparatively small and there’s lots of people out there who are incredible supporters of the NSPCC in so many different ways. I feel incredibly humbled to have been honoured with this award.”