Are we protecting children from harmful online content?

Since the internet’s launch, children’s safety has been a huge concern. Now, parents and guardians are more anxious than ever. 

So, how can society prevent children from exposure to dangerous online content? 

According to the statistics, this is a major problem. It’s estimated that up to 68% of children have viewed sexual images on the internet before, and 27% were sent directly from a person. 

Furthermore, close to 20% of 12 to 15-year-olds say they have viewed content that’s “worrying or nasty” on a social media platform, and many more have reported bullying or cyber abuse. 

What can parents do? 

With unsuitable content being so easily available, protecting children is vital. However, these services are still relatively new, and many adults feel that they are in uncharted territory. 

Research shows that some people still find parental controls complicated, confusing, and difficult to set up effectively. Because of this, they feel that the industry itself should do more to regulate adult content and monitor the accounts of minors more vigilantly. 

Additionally, users feel that they should have clearer choices in being able to “opt-in” or “opt-out” of adult content, rather than needing to block or remove it themselves. This would protect more kids, especially those without tech-savvy parents. 

The role of tech giants 

Overall, parents feel let down by the tech industry, especially online giants and social media networks like Facebook and Instagram. These companies have faced enormous criticisms for many years, but the problem is still rife, and young people don’t feel safe. 

Although some platforms have taken action, a lot of internet users still think this isn’t enough, and calls have been made for tougher safety measures, particularly for under-18s. 

Even some members of the industry itself believe that more regulation is needed. If new laws aren’t introduced, self-regulation would be the only way to stop appropriate and potentially damaging content from being accessed. 

Given the large profits made by social media companies, their contributions to the problem can’t be ignored. Protecting users is challenging, but it’s essential going forward. 

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