December 2023

Social media ban for under 16s

The Molly Rose Foundation (MRF) has responded to reports that the Government is considering a ban on social media for under 16s.

Andy Burrows, Advisor to the MRF said: “Our recent research shows the startling scale of preventable harm that teenagers continue to face on social media. It is clear that further measures are necessary to protect children from online risks, but the emphasis should firmly be on strengthening the regulator’s hand to ensure platforms are no longer awash with a set of avoidable dangers.”

The final versions of the Codes of Practice for the Online Safety Act are due to be published in autumn 2024. Services will then have three months to conduct their risk assessment, while the plans are subjected to Parliamentary approval. This is expected to conclude by the end of 2024, after which the Codes will come into force.

In Spring next year, Ofcom will publish a consultation on additional protections for children from harmful content promoting, among other things – suicide, self-harm, eating disorders and cyberbullying.

Science minister Andrew Griffith told LBC the reports of banning social media use for under-16s were “speculation”.

He added: “At this point, it is about a consultation that is rumoured to happen in the new year.”

Griffith continued: “I guess if you look forward to what else, what more the government could be doing, that would be the logic behind a consultation.

“It is about getting that balance. I know parents worry about these things, some bad things happen out there on social media – if we can help parents, then we will, but it is always about a balance.”

He added that industry would need to be consulted about any potential new social media restrictions.

If you’re struggling just text MRF to 85258 so you can speak to a trained volunteer from Shout, the UK’s Crisis Text Line service

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