NSPCC campaign to regulate content on social media backed by Meriden MP - The Solihull Observer

NSPCC campaign to regulate content on social media backed by Meriden MP

Solihull Editorial 18th Mar, 2019   0

MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman has shown her support for the NSPCC’s campaign to regulate tech firms as parents tell of the devastating effects of social media on their children’s lives.

She was among those who attended the Houses of Parliament for the NSPCC’s event about its Wild West Web campaign.

For the last year, the children’s charity has been calling on the government to make social networks legally responsible for protecting children on their sites.

To date, the Wild West Web petition has been signed by 37,403.

Parents, experts and MPs spoke at the event about why keeping children safe could no longer be left to social networks, because for more than a decade tech firms had failed to follow their own rules and prioritise safeguarding on their sites.

According to the charity in just 18 months, police in England and Wales recorded more than 5,000 grooming offences.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, told MPs it was essential that the government’s Online Harms White Paper included plans to bring in a statutory regulator that imposed a legal duty of care to children on social networks.

He said: “Abusers use social networks to target children, to manipulate them into swapping pictures or performing sex acts over livestreams.

“Regulation could stop this abuse from ever happening in the first place.

“We’ve reached the point where social networks can no longer be left to give this the priority they determine for themselves.

“The need for this sort of regulation is undeniable. It is needed urgently to hold social networks to account. This is an opportunity to be on the right side of history. This is an opportunity to keep generations of children better protected.”

Ian Russell, whose 14-year-old daughter Molly killed herself after viewing graphic images of self-harm and suicide on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, spoke about his experience.

After her death, Ian, with family and friends, set up the Molly Rose Foundation to help prevent suicide in young people.

Ian said: “It was too harrowing to spend long looking at the actual posts that Molly had viewed – posts that, I can say with absolute certainty, played a part in deepening Molly’s depression and persuading her to end her own life.

“For companies like Instagram saving a life is as straightforward as changing an algorithm – and every one of us has the power to save lives too. To save lives, we must stop this social media suicide storm.

“Now is the time for the UK Government to bring in effective internet regulation with strong sanctions as back-up.”


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Solihull Observer newspaper.


We can provide all of your printing needs at competitive rates.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Solihull Observer.