Social media platforms will be bound to protect children from watching self-harm content in a move to improve the physical and mental well-being of children. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, and many others have been prohibited from publishing content that is harmful to the physical and mental wellbeing of children in England, according to the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. To prevent the cases of self-harm, the government will ensure fines worth billions of pounds.
The incident that prompted the government to take a decision was the suicide of a 14-year-old Molly Russell who allegedly took her life after watching several self-harm images on Instagram and several other social media platforms. The companies are required to protect the privacy of the children and should not use their personal information for commercial purposes.
They are also needed to regulate the addictive features that make them stay online to prevent their reach from paedophiles. It is the first step taken to make sure that digital services take responsibility for the experience of their users, according to the Information Officer.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Britain has urged that social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter turn over research about possible dangers caused to young people by excessive social media use. The group also calls for higher rates of taxation on these companies, with some of the revenue to be used to fund more research into how some young people are being put at risk of self-harm, suicide, and other severe mental health issues.
Leader of the group's faculty on adolescence, Dr. Bernadka Dubicka said that that she has seen in her practice an increase in self-harm among young people “as a result of their social media use and online discussions.”
(with inputs from agencies)