Bill Gates states that the internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. But is that village secure enough? The way internet has penetrated across the globe, it has become ubiquitous in our life. In initial stages, internet did not attract enough regulations, but now, one can see a plethora of laws coming up to govern operations of internet.
Recently, the U.K. government introduced a proposal to regulate social media and online platforms based on the Online Harms White Paper. This paper is a joint effort of the Home Office and Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). The essence of this paper stands on the mental health impacts through online content. Government is planning to introduce a mandatory duty of care on platforms to secure users taking reasonable steps. Child sexual exploitation and abuse, and terrorism will fall under strict regulations in this plan.
Safety of Children Becoming Government’s Priority
In today’s world, minors have easy access to different variety of content on the internet. Recently, a schoolgirl’s suicide attracted media’s attention. Later it was revealed that she regularly visited pro-suicide content on Instagram. This incidence led to changes in policies of Facebook, the social-media giant that owns Instagram. The company will start censoring graphic images of self-harm.
Various politicians including digital secretary Jeremy Wright, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, children’s charity the NSPCC openly accepted the proposal. They believe that the era of self-regulation for online companies is over. And, industry players should take voluntary actions to tackle online harms. Moreover, they believe that social network failed to prioritize children’s safety for too long. They have been open to harmful, grooming, and abuse content. Thus, it is time to take effective legal action backed up with harsh punishments if they fail to do so.