MEPs have called for stricter laws to protect influential children on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.
A report published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) found that employment laws have not kept pace with the digital age, and that some children are being pushed and exploited by their parents for financial gain.
“This report is a reflection of the problems that have plagued the industry, where it has happened with too many lights, a camera, inaction,” said Julian Knight MP, committee chairman, DCMS. “The Government now has a duty to reshape the rules to keep pace with the changing digital landscape and to ensure appropriate protections for all.”
According to a report from Ofcom in 2021, up to half of the children said they had seen vloggers or YouTube influencers.
The report says that while an influential children’s culture can provide a platform for diverse voices and communities, it can expose young people to misinformation and harmful messages.
“With the speed at which online influencers are coming through, safety and security measures are often placed at the back of the priority list for the sake of gaining fans,” said Jake Moore, global cybersecurity consultant, ESET.
The report recommended that children, parents and schools need better support to develop media literacy for young people. It also found that the Advertising Standards Agency should do more to strengthen disclosure standards for online advertisements aimed at children.
“Some people think it’s too difficult to operate or set up security settings but the reality is that settings like two – factor authentication only take a few seconds to add a stronger layer of protection,” Moore said.
Knight said: “Children’s audiences, who are still developing digital literacy, are at particular risk in an environment where everything is not always as it seems.”
In response, the report calls on the government to do more on the gap in child labor in the UK and performance control.
New impact legislation should specify provisions on working hours and conditions, protection of child earnings, the right to abolish child labor arrangements and bring them under the supervision of local authorities, the report said.
Another issue raised in the report was the low compliance of influencers with UK advertising regulations.
In 2020, 35% of 24,000 marketing posts on Instagram of 122 UK – based influencers were not clearly labeled as ads, according to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).
Deaths calls for reform of employment law to stop ‘exploitation’
Source link Deaths calls for reform of employment law to stop ‘exploitation’