Social media safeguard call for children
SOCIAL media companies should be forced to introduce safeguards for children because under-18s are “not protected” online, the former head of one of Britain’s biggest internet providers has warned.
Baroness Harding, who stepped down earlier this year as chief executive of TalkTalk, said that some of the largest firms in the world “are simply not putting in place the most basic protections for our children”.
The stark warning came as the Conservative peer backed proposals to force companies to adapt their websites for children – together with Baroness Shields, the Prime Minister’s adviser on internet safety, and Baroness Lane Fox, the founder of Lastminute.com. Baroness Lane Fox cited the BBC as an organisation that had designed tailored services for children online, adding that other organisations were “shirk[ing] their responsibilities”.
The interventions will significantly increase the pressure on ministers to offer concessions over the Government’s Data Protection Bill, which will legally enshrine the age at which children are allowed to create accounts online as 13.
Matt Hancock, the digital minister, said the Government was “sympathetic to the sentiment” but said adding such a measure would create “confusion and disproportionate legislation”.