Actress portrays mother whose daughter suffers from mental health problems
Kate Winslet’s plea for stronger protections for youngsters online has been welcomed by child safety campaigners.
The actress made her passionate appeal during her Bafta acceptance speech – as Parliament debates a new law to make social media firms accountable for harmful online content.
The former Titanic star won Best Actress for her role in Channel 4 drama I Am Ruth, in which she starred alongside her real life daughter Mia Threapleton.
The 47-year-old portrayed a mother whose teen daughter suffers from mental health problems after viewing damaging content on the internet.
Kate called on the “people in power” to “criminalise harmful content”, She said: “I Am Ruth was made for parents and their children, for families who feel that they are held hostage by the perils of the online world, for parents who wish they could still communicate with their teenagers, but who no longer can.
“And for young people who have become addicted to social media and its darker sides, this does not need to be your life to people in power, and to people who can make change, please, criminalise harmful content.
“Please eradicate harmful content, we don’t want it. We want our children back.
“We don’t want to lie awake, terrified, by our children’s mental health and to any young person who might be listening, who feels that they are trapped in an unhealthy world.
“Please ask for help. There is no shame in admitting that you need support. It will be there just ask for it,” she added.
The Online Safety Bill is currently going through Parliament and aims to make the country “the safest place in the world to be online”. However, the new law has been mired by multiple delays and criticisms.
The NSPCC said Winslet’s comments would “resonate with parents up and down the country”.
“Regulation will start to bring the tech sector in line with other industries and ensure they have to assess and mitigate the risks of their products so they are safe for young users, but the pushback from some companies will be considerable,” said Rani Govender, senior child safety online policy officer at the NSPCC, which is calling for the bill to introduce an independent child online safety advocate.