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Law Experts Insist upon Health & Safety Laws to Protect Children on Social Media


Social media platforms are far from a perfect environment, especially where children are concerned. Sure they can be valuable tools if utilised correctly, but far too many fail to do so and instead these platforms can all too easily become theatres for hateful sentiments and harmful or even illegal content. Some sort of action is required in order to lessen and hopefully entirely eradicate this issue, and law experts think they have the answer.

According to new research published by the London School of Economics and Carnegie UK Trust, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like should focus on their “duty of care” to users, with participants suggesting that laws similar to long-tested and longstanding health and safety regulations should be put in place to police these virtual spaces much like we would any physical public place.

Leading the charge are Professor Lorna Woods, an internet law expert at the University of Essex, and William Perrin, a former Cabinet Office civil servant, who say that such regulations would reduce “harmful behaviours and risk” and create a “reasonably safe space for all”.

Professor Woods further stated, “Think about a public park or a pub or a library, and what sort of standards we expect in terms of safety and acceptable behaviour. In a children’s playground, is the climbing frame safe?

“It’s not about eradicating all risk, but are there any obvious problems with that climbing frame? Has it been designed to collapse for the entertainment of people standing around it who like seeing others fall off?”

This sentiment was echoed within the published research paper, in which the team asserted, “When considering harm reduction, social media networks should be seen as a public place - like an office, bar or theme park. By taking a similar approach to corporate-owned public spaces, workplaces [and] products in the physical world, harm can be reduced in social networks. 

“Duties of care set out in law 40 years ago or more still work well - for instance the duty of care from employers to employees in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 still performs well, despite today’s workplaces being profoundly different from 1974.”



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Law Experts Insist upon Health & Safety Laws to Protect Children on Social Media Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 Rating: 5
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