9 out of 10 parents back social network regulation

Our #WildWestWeb campaign calls for a social media regulator to force social networks to protect children on their platforms.

Boy with mobile phoneA new survey commissioned by the NSPCC reveals:

  • 9 out of 10 parents support the regulation of social networks to make them legally responsible for protecting children
  • 6 out of 10 adults do not think social networks protect children from sexual grooming and inappropriate content like self-harm and suicide1.

These figures are part of our Taming the Wild West Web (PDF) report which sets out how a robust regulator should enforce a legal duty of care to children on social networks.

The regulator would:

  • have legal powers to demand information from tech firms about their child safety measures
  • require social networks to meet a set of minimum safeguarding standards and proactively tackle online harms
  • deploy tough sanctions for failures to protect children online - including steep fines for tech firms up to £20m and a new criminal offence for gross breaches.

Ruth's story

Ruth Moss, whose daughter Sophie took her own life at the age of 13 after looking at self-harm and suicide content on social media, is backing our campaign for statutory regulation.

"I found out that Sophie had been looking at inappropriate things online. The images shocked me even as an adult, they were that bad. She was also having online relationships with people in their 30s."

Peter Wanless

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC said:
“The support for statutory regulation of social networks is now overwhelming.

“It is clear that society will no longer tolerate a free for all under which tech firms allow children to operate in a precarious online world with a myriad of preventable risks. 

“Social media bosses should be made to take responsibility for the essential protection of children on their platforms and face tough consequences if they don’t. Over a decade of self-regulation has failed, and enough is enough.  

“The Government’s Online Harms White Paper must impose a legal duty of care on social networks. Our proposal to tame the Wild West Web would make the UK a world leader in protecting children online. We urge the Government to be bold and introduce these measures without delay.”

Wild West Web: our campaign

We're calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright to stand up for children and introduce tough regulation for social networks. We want:

  • an independent regulator who can put in place mandatory child safety rules for social networks
  • safe accounts for children
  • detailed reporting on how social networks are keeping children safe.

We need your help to ensure children are safe online. Sign our petition and help end the #WildWestWeb.

Sign the petition

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References

  1. The NSPCC commissioned ComRes to conduct the Social media and childen survey (PDF). ComRes interviewed 2,748 British adults, including a booster sample of 1,037 parents of children aged 11-18, between 25 - 27 January 2019. Data was weighted to be representative of all British adults by age, gender, region and social grade.