Jan 11 2022
Child safety on a video-sharing platform
As of now, the UK has not enacted online harms legislation, and social media platforms in general are under no statutory duty to protect children from harmful content. However, providers of video-sharing platforms do have statutory obligations in that regard, set out in Part 4B of the Communications Act 2003 (added to the Act by amendment in 2020). Amongst other things, section 368Z1 of the Act requires providers of such platforms to make appropriate measures to protect under-18s from videos and audio-visual commercial communications containing "restricted material". Regardless of the statutory obligations (or lack thereof in the case of non-video social media platforms), many platforms expend considerable efforts seeking to protect children from harm.In this episode, we consider how a video-sharing start-up might focus its resources in order to comply with its statutory obligations and to maximise the prospects that it offers a safe environment for children. We are joined in this endeavour by Dr Elena Martellozzo, an Associate Professor in Criminology at the centre for Child Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS) at Middlesex University. Elena has extensive experience of applied research within the Criminal Justice arena. Elena’s research includes exploring children and young people’s online behaviour, the analysis of sexual grooming and online harm and police practice in the area of child sexual abuse. Elena has emerged as a leading researcher and global voice in the field of child protection, victimology, policing and cybercrime. She is a prolific writer and has participated in highly sensitive research with the Police, the IWF, the NSPCC, the OCC, the Home Office and other government departments. Elena has also acted as an advisor on child online protection to governments and practitioners in Italy (since 2004) and Bahrain (2016) to develop a national child internet safety policy framework. Further reading:Part 4B of the Communications Act 2003 can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/part/4BA description of the Internet Watch Foundation technology suite can be found here: https://www.iwf.org.uk/our-technology/A series of recommendations for various stakeholders (including tech companies) in relation to protection of children online in the age of COVID is made in the Glitch report.An article by Dr Martellozzo and her team on the effect of harmful content on children can be found on Sage Open here.Dr Martellozzo explains the grooming process in Chapter 4 of Bryce, Robinson and Petherick, Child Abuse and Neglect: here: Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact and Management, Academic Press, 2019.In the LSE-hosted blogpost Speaking Up: Contributing to the fight against gender-based online violence, Dr Martellozzo, Paula Bradbury and Emma Short provide commentary and references on this issue.