SAKA CALLS FOR ACTION BY SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES
Bukayo Saka has called on social media companies to do more to tackle abuse facing young people online.
The Arsenal and England footballer spoke following a spate of racial abuse on social media directed at him after he missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.
“To the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: I don’t want any child or adult to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received,” Saka said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“I knew instantly the kind of hate I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”
Saka’s call comes amid new research showing that 54% of young people have experienced bullying in their lives, of whom a third said the bullying had taken place on social media.
The research, which was commissioned by charity The Diana Award, also shows that almost half of young people think social media companies should make it easier to block and report people, while 45% think they should be quick to act in the event of a report.
“At least one child in every classroom experiences bullying every day, and we are increasingly seeing that it continues online via social media platforms, messaging and even online gaming,” said Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award.
“No one should feel worried or embarrassed to speak out if they are being targeted. We want to help schools, parents, guardians and young people speak out and support each other when they see or face bullying online or offline.”
DCMS LAUNCHES ONLINE MEDIA LITERACY STRATEGY
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released its Online Media Literacy Strategy, aimed at improving people’s ability to use the internet and online services, as well as being aware of its risks and dangers.
The Strategy seeks to help users better understand how and when not to share personal data online, how to appropriately engage with other users online and how to analyse online content and spot signs of misinformation.
40% of users lack the skills to critically assess online content, according to the report, while 55% of users are “interested in learning more about how to use tools to distinguish between true and false information online.”
“We want users to be able to critically evaluate the content they consume, understand that online actions can have offline consequences, and be able to contribute to a respectful and kind online environment,” said Secretary of State for DCMS, Oliver Dowden.
“This Strategy outlines a framework to guide these efforts and highlights key challenges to provide focus for organisations across the sector.”
RISE IN STALKING DURING COVID PANDEMIC
Police say there has been a “significant rise” in the number of reports of stalking during the Coronavirus pandemic with as many as 80,000 incidents recorded last year, as national lockdowns have made it easier for victims to be targeted at home.
However, a BBC News Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows that arrests have not grown at the same rate, suggesting that police may be struggling to keep pace with the growing number of reports.
Of the reports of stalking made to the police, over 2,000 of them were made by under-18s, the FOI request shows 25 of the 28 police forces that responded to the request said that at least one report had been made by a person aged 11 or under.
NEW TECHNOLOGY COULD HELP AGE VERIFICATION
Facial analysis technology could be the key to keeping children safe while they use the internet, according to a Guardian report.
New “state-of-the-art machine-learning techniques” could be used to verify the age of users online and thereby restrict access to certain types of explicit content, such as online pornography websites.
By law, pornography websites are required to verify the age of users — however, the law does not stipulate how websites are expected to do this. The technology is already being used in China, according to the report, where gamers must prove their age if they want to play mobile games after 10pm.
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