#SaferInternetDay – An online safety bill is not a ‘magic wand’ that will protect children and young people from explicit and harmful content, the founder of an advocacy agency said today. young people to tackle the problem.
Anisa Morridadi, CEO and Founder of Beatfreeks, works on the online safety campaign supported by Google.org and YouTube Be Internet Citizens.
Beatfreeks has been campaigning for better online safety for nine years and Anisa said the Online Safety Bill, which includes legislation to make porn websites in the UK legally required to verify the age of their users, was long overdue.
The bill is expected to be introduced in parliament over the next few months and is designed to protect users from harmful content.
“We live in a digital age where everything from education to our social life takes place online, which means a lot of young people’s lives take place in online spaces,” said Anisa. .
“While this can be extremely beneficial, it also comes with dangers. Studies show that half of 11-13 year olds have been exposed to pornography. It’s shocking and shows how vulnerable young people can be. Not only that, but it shows how vital this bill really is.
“The announcement of tougher regulations around online pornography is a huge step forward and something that we hope will provide young people with much more protection from exposure to potentially harmful explicit material.”
As well as being able to penalize websites that don’t follow the rules, regulator Ofcom could prevent them from being accessible in the UK.
The owners of these sites could also be held criminally responsible if they do not cooperate with Ofcom.
Previously, only commercial porn sites allowing user-generated content were covered by the Online Safety Bill, but all commercial porn sites will now be covered.
“While we wholeheartedly support the introduction of the Online Safety Bill, it is important to remember that it is not a magic wand and that young people still need to fully understand how to protect yourself in online spaces,” Anisa said. “Through our Be Internet Citizens program, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
“We not only give young people the skills and knowledge they need to safely navigate potentially difficult topics like online discrimination, fake news and sexually explicit material, but we also educate teachers so that they too have the tools to help their students.
“It’s not about putting the blame on young people, it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect themselves online and we hope these new rules announced as part of the Online Safety Bill will be a catalyst for widespread change.”
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