New laws to protect children online, says Government

The Government has announced it is bringing in laws to protect children online, in a victory for our Wild West Web campaign.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said that while digital technology is “overwhelming a force for good across the world” there is a need to “address the wild west elements of the internet through legislation”.

In its response to the Internet Safety Strategy, the Government has committed to creating new online safety laws. A White Paper to be published later this year will set out legislation to be brought forward that tackles both legal and illegal harms, from cyberbullying to online child sexual exploitation.

He added: "People increasingly live their lives through online platforms so it's more important than ever that people are safe and parents can have confidence they can keep their children from harm.

"The measures we're taking forward today will help make sure children are protected online and balance the need for safety with the great freedoms the internet brings just as we have to strike this balance offline."

Matt Hancock is scheduled to give a keynote speech at our annual flagship conference How safe are our children? Growing up online.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said:

“For Government to finally commit to laws to protect children online is a huge step forward and a victory for the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign.

“Crucially these laws will seek to protect young people from online crimes such as grooming, as well as other harms like bullying.

“This is where the real work starts. It’s vital the safety code, the regulator that enforces it, and the transparency measures to hold social networks to account are all enshrined in law.

“The Government needs to work closely with us and with the social networks to make sure these are proper legal protections so children can safely enjoy all that the internet has to offer.”

Wild West Web: our campaign

Following our Wild West Web campaign, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has announced that new laws will be brought in to regulate social networks, helping to keep children safe and prevent a number of offences, such as grooming.

We’re calling for Mr Hancock to bring in:

1. an independent regulator for social networks with fining powers

2. a mandatory code which introduces Safe Accounts for children; grooming alerts using algorithms; and fast-tracking of reports to moderators which relate to child safety

3. mandatory transparency reports forcing social networks to disclose how many safety reports they get, and how they deal with those reports.

Learn more about our campaign

Worried about a child?

Contact our trained helpline counsellors for help, advice and support.

0808 800 5000

Report a concern