As the use, and users, of social media have risen, we are being made increasingly aware of the amount of abuse and trolling that goes on via various platforms. This can have detrimental effects on young people who grow with phones so readily available, with 68 percent of online harassment victims facing mental health issues, and 71 percent of social media users feeling like the platforms are not doing enough to combat the ongoing issue.
To help tackle this MP Siobhan Baillie has adapted the Online Safety Bill, introducing a verification process to online accounts.
Her proposed law would give people the option to verify their accounts, meaning users can choose not to interact with unverified users on the platforms. Ms Baillie understands that this change will not completely stop online abuse, however, the ability to only interact with verified accounts will deter abusers from harassing other users online as they can then be easily prosecuted due to their personal information being attached to their account.
This change is also useful in helping to stop the spread of misinformation online, as users can no longer hide behind fake or burner accounts, making social media a lot safer to use. Although the verification process will be done through social media platforms, the information collected could be through third party companies to ensure the protection of the data collected.
The proposed law has been put forward to the House of Commons but would not be put into place until next year if it goes through.
Charities Helping to Make the Internet a Safe Place for Children and Young People
A partnership of three charitable organisations – Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL – have come together under the umbrella organisation of ‘UK Safer Internet Centre’ with the important mission of making the internet a safe place for children and young people.
Their work revolves around three areas:
- Awareness: They provide support to children and young people, plus their parents, carers, and schools.
- Helpline: To support professionals working with children and young people.
- Hotline: For reporting and removing sexual images of children online
Forcing tech companies to ensure a duty of care for their users and making social media a much safer and friendly place is so important, whether through the Online Safety Bill or another solution.