Nans need action to stop Online Harm

Nans need action to stop Online Harm

1st January 2021By nanhoodadminNo Comments

The boys are now using their tablets on a regular basis. Duncan has to do a lot of his school work on a laptop. Slowly and steadily they are moving into a dangerous world. 

The Online Harms Bill

This was covered in the press last month. So I thought greater protections were in place. But no not yet!

The papers shouted about massive fines for big companies if OfCom’s powers are brought to life by this Bill. 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/dec/15/online-harms-bill-firms-may-face-multibillion-pound-fines-for-content

Be assured it is not only Facebook, Twitter, TikTok — (I hear myself shouting ‘ and what other platforms are there!) but all platforms which provide us regular people with services. Size does not matter.  They cannot do us harm and Ofcom is the enforcer. Finally there will be some ‘doing’ and not just ‘saying’. 

When will it be law?

At present the Bill is at the very early stages of becoming law in the UK. Even though it’s a small two page Bill it has only passed 2 stages of the 12 stages from Bill (not law) to Act (law) since January 2020…a full year ago.  Might this mean that the tech companies are weaving their magic over the politicians who should be making this a priority for our children? 

What will it mean?

All ‘online service providers’ whether big or small,  must ensure that we are  “free from harm arising from the service’s operation or use” whether we are direct or indirect users…. Elliot takes every chance to peek over the shoulder of his Mum when she is working on her laptop. Stuff happens. 

Who will be watched by OfCom?

Ofcom is the organisation who watches over the tech industry on behalf of us all. When this Bill is an Act they must take action when they are told of online content that fails to prevent 

  • Terrorism
  • Dangers to persons aged under 18 and vulnerable adults
  • Racial hatred, religious hatred, hatred on the grounds of sex or hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation
  • Protection from discrimination because of a ‘protected characteristic’ , that means nastiness about people based on their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex
  • Fraud or financial crime;
  • Intellectual property crime
  • Threats which impede or prejudice the integrity and probity of the electoral process; and
  • Any other harms that OFCOM deem appropriate….

BUT this only happens when the law is  in place….. I wonder what happens now if the kids see  nasty content? As a Nan I have to keep a close eye just like Mum and Dad do. 

Maybe we should all be nudging our MPs to get on with this law. Covid-19 cannot be the reason for the safety of us all but especially our children to be put on the backburner? 

Top Tips

  • To my UK readers– write to your MP maybe ask ‘can you please press for the Online Harms Reduction Regulator Bill to be moved on fast, it matters to our kids and us’
  • To my worldwide readers — Write to your leaders and ask what they are doing about protecting you and your children online. 
  • Tell Ofcom when you see things that are in the above list if the platform provider does nothing. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/complaints/complain-about-phones-or-internet-services The link will be updated after the law is through