How Parents, Teachers, and Legislators Are Working To Protect Children Online
By Movieguide® Staff
As online playgrounds become more hostile and accessible, child safety is a growing concern among parents.
Nic Wetton, a JH Godwin Primary School teacher, points out that just because children are quiet and locked into what is on their screens does not mean they are safe.
“Parents think a child is safe because when they’re online they’re quiet, but they don’t know what they’re watching,” Wetton told BBC News. “Children can be traumatised by horrific videos they see online.”
Movieguide® previously reported on the pervasive immoral content found on the world’s most popular social media sites, like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Not only is sexual, violent content available on these platforms, but it is also promoted—putting young, innocent minds in the firing line of the edgiest content media has to offer.
According to Wetton, what children view online negatively affects their performance in school and other areas of life, such as sleep.
Rachel O’Connell, the founder of TrustElevate, investigated online child abuse and seeks to hold both tech companies and abusers responsible.
O’Connell also wants to help parents understand what exactly their children are being fed through social media and other media.
“Putting naked selfies online seems to be a rite of passage now,” O’Connell notes. “Parents feel they don’t know how to ‘digitally’ parent, they can feel helpless. We need oversight.”
Through her Zero Data principle, O’Connell hopes to create a family access app that deters possible pedophiles through parental controls and screening while keeping the children’s data secure.
BBC News reported:
TrustElevate software generates a token containing just the child’s age range and no personal information, this information allows a service provider to check out a potential new user.
While the service provider can block access, if the details don’t tally with the permissions held on the system, the token cannot be exploited to push other services, or products, to the child.
“There’s no oversight into that at the moment, no oversight into the impact of it,” O’Connell added, noting that the Government needs to hold tech companies accountable.
In the U.K., legislators are proposing the Online Safety Bill to protect children from harmful and inappropriate material.
Chris Philp, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, said that online tech companies would need stricter guidelines to truly protect child users.
“If platforms want children to use their services, they will need to protect them from accessing content that is harmful or inappropriate. If their services are meant for adults, they will need to prevent underage access,” he told BBC News. “Those who fail to comply, will face massive fines and risk their services being blocked from access in the U.K.”
Similar laws are in the works in the United States, as legislators from both parties band together to protect the younger generation.
Movieguide® previously reported:
After Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen exposed a series of reports called the Facebook Files, lawmakers took legal action to protect children online.
Facebook’s internal documents and testimony of Haugen revealed the dangerous business model of Meta’s social media platform and its specific danger to young users.
The latest proposed bill, called the Kids Online Safety Act, seeks to hold tech companies accountable for harmful business strategies, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) said that the bill would require companies to offer transparent reports of how their platform could contribute to the harm of minors and provide tools to help parents keep their children safe.
“In hearings over the last year, Senator Blumenthal and I have heard countless stories of physical and emotional damage affecting young users, and Big Tech’s unwillingness to change,” Sen. Blackburn said.
The bill would also force Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and others to use strict default settings and give more control back to the user regarding what they see online.
“We’ve had a kind of Wild West mentality,” Margaret Spellings, a commission member and former U.S. education secretary under President George W. Bush. “That’s borne fruit, but it’s time to have more control.”
Read More: Who Is Teaching Our Children? New Report Shows Importance of a Biblical Worldview
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