Government proposes new internet safety laws

The new ‘Bill’ will include significant changes to current UK laws increasing online protection for vulnerable people, including children and young people (CYP) by criminalising the encouragement of self-harm and the sharing of people’s intimate images without their consent.

Taking steps against unregulated social media:

  • 83 per cent of people think social media companies should protect children who are using their platforms (only 4 percent disagree).
  • Eight in ten people (78 percent) want social media companies held accountable for keeping underage children off their platforms (only 7 percent disagree).

The aim is to protect children and tackle online criminal activity, while preserving free speech, but ensuring tech firms are accountable to their users.

Social media firms will be legally required to remove illegal content, take down material in breach of their own terms of service, and provide adults with greater choice over the content they see and engage with. Firms will be made to show how they enforce their user age limits to stop children from circumventing authentication methods and they will have to publish details of when the regulator Ofcom has taken action against them.

Social media platforms will be required to publish their risk assessments on the dangers their sites pose to children.

Government proposes new internet safety laws

Companies in scope will need to protect CYP from content and activity that poses a risk of significant harm. This includes taking preventative measures to tackle offences such as child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA).

ABL offer intensive personalised support (IPS) for CYP who are on the edge of care; ‘we work with the whole family to support the child/children to remain at home’. The service is an effective support solution; supporting families across the North West since 2018. The IPS service has saved local authorities millions of pounds by reducing and preventing the need for expensive residential care and hospital stays.

At the other end of the support spectrum, the ABL Health, Be U Notts service offers early intervention support to CYP (age 0 – 25 years) across Nottingham. Internet safety is a frequent discussion point across all our CYP services because they often feel vulnerable online. In a digital age, CYP are spending increasing amounts of time online. With this in mind, the new proposed government internet safety laws couldn’t be more timely.

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