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Child safety update with ‘open’ online platforms Are social sharing platforms doing enough to protect the most vulnerable online?

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Being safe online is something that we all have to keep in mind, as many of us love to share our memories and experiences through digital platforms.

Receiving likes and comments is very gratifying, and as psychologist Emma Kenny states, every positive reaction results in releasing dopamine – a neurotransmitter that makes people feel good and happy. But with every photo and video we upload, the risk of it falling into the wrong hands increases. Yet users of these online platforms aren’t the only ones who need to think twice before they upload, as once a photo is online it is there forever; the companies that own these platforms need to make sure their small corner of the online world is safe.  

Keeping children safe when they are online has always been important for most people, whether they have their own children or not. When we are younger, we believe we know everything and dislike being told what to do. It isn’t until we have grown up we see how innocent and naive we actually were, and realise why it is so important to be safe online.

The NSPCC is a charity that helps the lives of children and they believe that there is a lot more to do when it comes to online safety for children, explaining that, due to Covid, more children were online to chat with friends and share photos. But when keeping up with these connections with others online, the risks can increase.

Living in a digital society, we have to understand that many of us, no matter our age, will be online and will want to share our memories with others, to show them what we have been up to. But we all know how dangerous it can be online, one simple search and we can see the case examples of the high levels of criminal acts that can happen on different social media platforms. Experts analysed all of this and have come to the conclusion that offenders are targeting social media platforms such as Instagram, as the photos are very easy to find by anyone. 

The question is, what is the government doing to prevent this from happening?

 

Online safety

 

The answer is the Online Safety Bill and in recent weeks, this has been of high interest in the United Kingdom. The bill describes ways that different social media platforms need to act to protect their users, but most importantly children, who use their apps.

Different platforms have already tried to protect children through various approaches. For example, when signing in, users have to state their age as platforms generally only allow people who are 13 and above to apply. In the USA, the reason for this is due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (many countries have similar legislation), but many children find ways around this, e.g. by simply stating their birth year is different than it actually is, and there is currently no way for these social media platforms to confirm if a user is truly over the age of 13 or not.

 

Even though this legislation exists, under eighteens are still allowed online and are exposed to everything – even if they don’t realise it. Reading about the Online Safety Bill, one can see all the rules that the government are advising social media platforms to follow. They understand that online world dangers are very real, and perhaps know they cannot stop people from using these apps. What they have therefore decided instead is that platforms need to understand what content is being uploaded. 

This means, when it comes to protecting children using these apps, such as TikTok and Snapchat, they need to be able to quickly identify and take down content that spread illegal and/or harmful messages, such as child abuse. Failure to do so will result in a fine.

Priti Patel, the current Home Secretary of the UK (2021) put it this way; It’s time for tech companies to be held to account and to protect the British people from harm. If they fail to do so, they will face penalties”. 

The result is that current apps, that allow users to upload content and communicate to one another, need to do a better job than they already are and be aware of the content being shared. This will be hard to do; as some platforms have already stated, it will be difficult to truly know which images to take down and which ones to leave, but it is important, as child safety online should be their number one priority when it comes to social media. 

 

Children safety online

 


At Splento, we believe child safety to be paramount. With the new Splento App, safety and privacy are our top priorities.

We acknowledge why social media is appealing – it is to us, too – as it is incredibly useful, fun and joyful to share memories online. It’s a quick and easy way to interact with friends and family even when they are far away.

This is why the Splento App has built as child friendly from the ground up,  and is also why the content that is uploaded is secure.

The Splento App is an amazing way for parents to share photos, videos, experiences, and memories of their children with friends and family.

The app gives parents complete control, over access; they are the ones who decide who may view these memories and who may interact with them.

Importantly, no one follows another user on the Splento App; rather, the user shares their photos and/or albums with whoever they choose, safe in the knowledge that no one else will have access of any kind. For parents, this means that they can share photos of their children with parents, family and close friends, with total peace of mind.

Not only that, but we have trained the app to spot if someone does accidentally upload a photo that will not be friendly for younger eyes, and will stop it from being uploaded. This is because we firmly believe that child online safety is most important of all.

There is a lot more the Splento App does, and if you are a parent why not explore the other features that the Splento App offers and how it can benefit both you and your family.