Plans for new laws for child online safety

The government has announced it will be working on new laws to increase online safety, including making the internet safer for children.

The department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office will jointly work on a White Paper with other government departments, to be published later this year.

This will set out legislation to be brought forward that tackles a range of online harms, from cyberbullying to online child sexual exploitation.

The government will work collaboratively with tech companies, children’s charities and other stakeholders to develop the detail of the new legislation.

It will work closely with industry to provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of companies that operate online in the UK to keep users safe.

The Government will also work with regulators, platforms and advertising companies to ensure that the principles that govern advertising in traditional media – such as preventing companies targeting unsuitable advertisements at children – also apply and are enforced online.

Barnardo’s CEO, Javed Khan said: "We have long seen the harm that online can bring to children’s lives, our own child sexual abuse services saw a 38% increase last year in children referred. Online can be a force for good, but the ease of exploitation of children must be tackled.

"We urge Government in the White paper to consider legislation that ends the era of technology self-regulation and puts children’s safety at the heart of the online world. Taking action now is vital to protect the next generation of children."

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