Senior Coroner Andrew Walker issues his report to prevent future deaths

“The Molly Rose Foundation (MRF) welcomes senior coroner Andrew Walker’s report to prevent future deaths and we hope social media companies will respond to his proposals within the 56 day time limit prescribed.

“The MRF supports the coroner’s view that an independent regulator with sufficient powers to protect children and where necessary take proportionate sanctions against those who have failed in their duty of care, must be set up.

“We continue to call for the Online Safety Bill to be passed without further delay. This must be an utmost priority, it doesn’t have to be perfect and it can be fine-tuned and strengthened as needed. In any case, legislation will need to be fleet of foot to keep up with the pace of tech change. Legislators must be bold enough to ‘move fast and mend things’ to help rebalance an industry that has neglected safety since its inception, too often at fatal cost to its users.”

The coroner’s proposals in full:

I recommend that consideration is given by the Government to reviewing the provision of internet platforms to children, with reference to harmful on-line content, separate platforms for adults and children, verification of age before joining the platform, provision of age specific content, the use of algorithms to provide content, the use of advertising and parental guardian or carer control including access to material viewed by a child, and retention of material viewed by a child.

I recommend that consideration is given to the setting up of an independent regulatory body to monitor on-line platform content with particular regard to the above.

I recommend that consideration is given to enacting such legislation as may be necessary to ensure the protection of children from the effects of harmful on-line content and the effective regulation of harmful on-line content.

Although regulation would be a matter for Government I can see no reason why the platforms themselves would not wish to give consideration to self-regulation taking into account the matters raised above.

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