Mother, whose daughter killed herself, supports call for pressure from social media

An Edinburgh nurse, whose daughter killed herself after viewing harmful online content, supported calls for tighter social media regulation.

Ruth Moss is campaigning with the NSPCC for new legislation that will hold tech bosses accountable.

His daughter, Sophie Parkinson, died at her home in Angus in 2014 at the age of 13. He had seen posts on social media aimed at suicide and self-harm.

Ruth Moss with her daughter Sophie Parkinson

Ruth Moss with her daughter Sophie Parkinson (Ruth Moss/PA)

He has also been exposed to grooming on social media platforms.

The UK Government’s Online Safety Act, delayed in Westminster, proposes that social media bosses be obligated not to disclose information to Ofgem, the industry’s proposed new regulator.

Ministers said that the intention to pass the Bill remains at this parliamentary session.

But campaigners say it needs to go further, arguing for responsibility for decisions that result in avoidable harm or sexual abuse.

Ms Moss said holding tech giants accountable for the content on their sites will force them to make the internet safer for kids and teens.

He said: “In my view, if companies deliberately break the law and put the lives of children like my daughter at risk, then of course senior executives should take criminal responsibility.

“The consequences of disobedience are life-changing for children like Sophie.

“Criminal responsibility drives the right behavior in those with the most responsibility. It works in other industries, and there’s no reason why big tech executives should be treated differently.”

Around 2,192 people in Scotland signed an open letter to Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, calling for legislative change.

The NSPCC said senior technology executives should also be responsible for preventing child sexual abuse.

Michelle Donelan

Michelle Donelan (James Manning/PA)

The charity estimates that 600 such offenses will be recorded by the Police of Scotland between the time the law was delayed in July and the time that is likely to pass the UK Parliament on 16 January.

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “2022 was the year the Online Safety Act was subject to delay without delay, children were subjected to industrial-scale sexual abuse, and tech bosses were at their fingertips as their algorithms continued to bombard young users with highly dangerous information.” material.

“This year should be the year that legislation enables systemic change for children online, our survey shows that families across the country want it.

“The government can do this by introducing a bold, world-leading regulation that puts money in senior management for the safety of our children.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports said: “Protecting children from online harm is a top priority and we share the public’s desire for increased accountability.”

“Through our Online Safety Bill, we will use the full force of the law to ensure that social media companies protect young people from horrific suicidal material.”

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