Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport plans on targeting cyber-bullying, abuse, trolling, and under-age access to porn in order to make the online world a safer place. Karen Bradley plans on having social media groups sign up to a voluntary code of practice to aid in funding campaigns against abuse.
According to the government, almost a fifth of 12 to 15-year-olds have been subject to viewing something that they deemed as worrying or nasty and that almost half of adults have viewed something that upset or offended them on social media.
Ms Karen Bradley stated to the BBC that despite having made promises of introducing new laws to regulate internet safety in the Conservative Party’s manifesto, legislation would take a long time. She stated that collaborative approach with internet groups was the plan for initiating the safety for the online world. She went on to say that many of the internet groups stated that they founded these businesses when they were in their 20’s and did not have children, and now that they are older and have teenagers themselves, they want to solve that problem.
Ms Bradley said that the internet had been an amazing force of good, but has had its downs in causing suffering and that it could be especially harmful for children, as well as vulnerable people.
“For too long there’s been behaviour online that would be unacceptable if it was face-to-face.” – Ms Karen Bradley
One of the proposals proposed was to for an annual transparency report where it is listed to show; the volume of content that is reported to a company and the proportion of it taken down, how user’s complaints are handled, information about content moderation of each site and how they go about it, and category complaints including: minors, women, religion and the LGBT community.
Ms Bradley believes that in the future, the government could legislate, and that any changes to the existing law would also include:
“Our priority is to make Facebook a safe place for people of all ages which is why we spent a long time working with safety experts like the UK Safer Internet Centre, developing powerful tools to help people have a positive experience. We welcome close collaboration between industry, experts and government to address this important issue.” – FaceBook, in response to consultation regarding cyber-bullying.
The NSPCC gave a statement by a spokesperson saying that keeping young people safe online was the biggest issue in child protection faced in our time. It was mentioned that young people face a unique set online when using the internet and that it is crucial that any strategy recognizes the challenges that they face when surfing the internet and requires the industry to act and protect them.
The chief executive at social enterprise Parent Zone, Vicki Shotbolt said that it was encouraging seeing the government tackling the issue of making the online world a safer place for children.
Asking social media companies to chip in towards the costs of providing education to the public about the dangers faced in the online world has priority in the gambling industry, which is aiding in the treatment of gambling addiction at the moment.
Alongside all the aforementioned points for online safety, the government wants to see online safety measures given an adequate amount of attention in schools with advice on social media safety as part of the existing education programmes.
The consultation on the online safety topic will close on the 7th of December of 2017, with an expected response from the government early 2018.
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