The draft recommendations on illegal content include suggestions that larger and higher risk platforms should avoid presenting kids with lists of suggested friends; should not have child users appear in others’ connection lists; and should not make children’s connection lists visible to others.
It’s also proposing that accounts outside a child’s connection list should not be able to send them direct messages; and kids’ location information should not be visible to other users, among a number of recommended risk mitigations aimed at keeping kids safe online.
“Regulation is here, and we’re wasting no time in setting out how we expect tech firms to protect people from illegal harm online, while upholding freedom of expression. Children have told us about the dangers they face, and we’re determined to create a safer life online for young people in particular,” said dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s chief executive, in a statement.
“Our figures show that most secondary-school children have been contacted online in a way that potentially makes them feel uncomfortable. For many, it happens repeatedly. If these unwanted approaches occurred so often in the outside world, most parents would hardly want their children to leave the house. Yet somehow, in the online space, they have become almost routine. That cannot continue.”