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Youngsters want better protection from social media giants

This news post is almost 4 years old

A survey by the NSPCC found 90% of 11-16 year-olds want tech firms to do more to keep them safe.

Nine out of ten young people believe big tech firms should have a legal responsibility to keep them safe, according to a survey.

Researchers from the NSPCC spoke to 2004 youngsters aged 11-16 for the survey, conducted as part of the charity’s Wild West Web campaign.

In total, over 90% of respondents agreed that children should be protected from sexual, self-harm, suicide and violent content online.

Eight in every ten youngsters also wanted all social media platforms to allow users to delete posts or to make it harder to share screenshotted content.

The survey’s results were published as the NSPCC handed its campaign petition to 10 Downing Street on Monday.

Almost 46,000 people across the UK – including thousands of Scots - have signed the petition, which calls on the next Prime Minister to bringing in comprehensive legislation that will force tech firms to exercise a duty of care and protect children from abuse and harmful content on their platforms.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “In recent months we have seen the breadth of consensus for social networks to take proper responsibility for protecting children from abuse and harmful content on their platforms. The thousands of signatures on our Wild West Web campaign alone demonstrates the strength of feeling out there.

“But this latest research could not be clearer; children themselves want to go online without the fear of seeing graphic and disturbing material and being vulnerable to abuse.

“It is imperative that the new Prime Minister treats this issue as an utmost priority and that the government now works swiftly to build on its bold and ambitious proposals and brings in legislation that will make the UK the safest place for children to be online.”

Among those who handed in the petition was Ruth Moss, from Edinburgh, whose daughter Sophie took her own life at the age of 13 after looking at self-harm and suicide content on social media.

She said: “Children are protected by legislation in so many aspects of life, including traditional media. We would be horrified if our children were exposed to abuse or damaging imagery in films, television or the press, so why should the internet and social media be any different?

“And with WiFi available in so many public areas and most children having social media accounts, it would be naïve to think that parents can manage this issue alone. Even children themselves recognise this.

“Therefore, it’s essential that this regulation is implemented as a priority. We owe this to future generations of our children.”



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