Children Need Social Media Ombudsmen “To Protect Them Online”

Youngsters these days have grown up with the internet, but they still need protecting against some dangers they could encounter online.

The Children’s Commissioner has spoken out about the risks kids face when going on the internet, and has called for an ombudsmen to be implemented to mediate between those under 18 and social media networks.

Anne Longfield said in a report: “The internet is an extraordinary force for good but it is not designed with children in mind.”

However, one-third of users of the internet are younger than 18 years old, it was noted, with three to four-year-olds typically spending eight hours and 18 minutes online a week.

Ms Longfield stated: “Children are not being equipped with adequate skills to negotiate their lives online.”

She, therefore, wants a change in protection for children using the internet, including a watchdog for social media companies to make sure kids are not being exploited when on these sites.

The government should also create a compulsory digital citizenship programme for school children, and simplify terms and conditions of the General Data Protection Regulation for digital services to be offered to youngsters.

Ms Longfield has stated these three measures would give kids “resilience, information and power” so they are not vulnerable users of the web.

This comes after research from Internet Matters found that 13 per cent of kids between 11 and 16 have their own vlog or blog, and more than a third have posted a video on to YouTube or other social websites.

This demonstrates just how much children use online channels these days, with Carolyn Bunting, chief executive officer of the organisation, saying this is how “children are communicating in the digital world”, the Telegraph reported.

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