The United Kingdom Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee has released a report on the impact of social media on children and how companies can help alleviate some of the major issues it causes.
Social media use has become increasingly popular over the years and more minors are finding ways pathways to the platforms, despite many companies having rules against underaged users.
The report listed risks, harms and benefits of children using social media.
Some of the risks and harms include inciting terrorism and the “proliferation online of the physical, emotional and sexual abuse and exploitation of children.” The committee notes that although social media has not created many of the risks presented in the report, the platforms do amplify them.
The Committee suggested various regulations to prevent and punish harm presented to children via social media. The report requested that the Law Commission “produce clear recommendations on how to reform existing laws” dealing with hate speech and other offenses to help clarify and define illegal online activity.
The report also suggests legislation that holds social media companies accountable for their role in the negative impacts their platforms have on kids. The Committee notes that social media platforms have a “duty of care” towards users who are under 18 and those who belong to vulnerable groups.
In the U.S. the relationship between minors and social media has also caused issues. The Pew Research Center released a report in September saying that more teenagers had been cyberbullied at least once in their lifetime.
The survey found that 59 percent of U.S. teens had experienced offensive name-calling, spreading of false rumors, receiving unsolicited explicit images, physical threats and having pictures of them shared without their consent.