NSPCC calls for social media code of practice

2 February 2018

The NSPCC has said regulators should be given the power to track those down that break the rules on social media writes Rebecca Siddall.

Leading child psychologist Tanya Byron has said that time has lapsed for a mandatory code.

The government must make social media websites sign up to a mandatory code of practice and give an independent regulator the power to fine those that break the rules.

The charity have said the government had failed to implement over half of the child safety online recommendations made in a report by Professor Tanya Byron a decade ago.

Hull mother of one, Sophie Hood, 23 of Beverley Road said:

“I worry for my daughter for when she gets introduced to the world of social media, there’s so much out there that isn’t regulated and it’s time something changed for the safety of our children.”

Peter Wanless, the NSPCC chief executive said:

“It’s simply wrong that the government has allowed social networks to mark their own homework for the past decade, and that their new strategy would let that continue.

“It’s impossible to fathom how much harm has been done over those years in terms of online sexual abuse, hate speech, violent and harmful content and cyberbullying.”

A decade later, the government’s internet safety strategy is only just in the process of developing a code of practice for social networks and less than half of Byron’s recommendations have been fully implemented.

KCOM, Hull’s internet provider have taken the step to make our children safe online in light of the recent reports.

 

During the past decade the online world has moved significantly, Instagram, snapchat and WhatsApp didn’t exist a decade ago. 83% of 12 to 15 year olds have a smartphones and half of all children have a social media profile by aged 12 according to Ofcom.

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Social media statistics infographic

In a new report, commissioned by the NSPCC, Byron accused ministers of dragging their feet and said the time had passed for a voluntary code. “The government said they want the UK to be the safest place for children to be online,” she said.

“Yet only now are they starting to play catch-up on recommendations I made 10 years ago, while other recommendations have been ignored entirely.

“The internet is absolutely ubiquitous in children’s lives today, and it is much too late for a voluntary code for social networks. The internet strategy must absolutely create a legally enforceable safety code to force social networks to keep children safe. The online world moves too fast for government to drag its feet for another decade.”

Byron’s report comes days after the NSPCC revealed there had been more than 1,300 grooming offences in the first six months since a new law came into effect. Almost two-thirds of cases involving the use of Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram.

Teachers across Hull have been given access to a host of resources that will help them to plan lessons and talk to pupils about the many different aspects of using the internet and socialising online.

Children and young people in Hull will be able to find out more about how to keep safe online as part of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 6 February.

 

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