As the Online Safety Bill returns to the House of Commons for its final debate, Samaritans is urging the Government to act on public demands for a safer internet.
New omnibus research commissioned by the charity found that the government’s removal of protections from damaging content for over 18s goes directly against what the public wants in this bill.
- Two-thirds (66%) are concerned with the current accessibility of harmful suicide and self-harm content on the internet.
- Three in five (63%) think that access to potentially harmful content on the internet should be restricted for everyone, including adults.
- Four in five (83%) agree that harmful suicide and self-harm content can have a damaging effect on adults, not just children.
- Three-quarters (75%) agree that tech companies should be required by law to prevent harmful suicide and self-harm content being shown to users of all ages.
- Just under one in six (16%) think that access to potentially harmful content on the internet should only be restricted for children
“This is a wake-up call for the Government,” said Julie Bentley, CEO of Samaritans. “The public is demanding that tech platforms regulate damaging self-harm and suicide content, whether it is legal or not, for people of all ages. It’s unacceptable to squander a vital opportunity to save lives.
“This Bill was originally intended to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online; however, the goalposts have completely changed with important protections being limited solely to children. Of course, children must have the greatest protection, but the idea that people will stop being vulnerable the moment they turn 18 is ridiculous and puts lives at risk. The Government must rethink and move forward with an Online Safety Bill that can actually achieves what it set out to do.”
Notes to editors
Opinium Research was commissioned to run an omnibus survey of 2000 UK adults between 13– 16 December 2022. Full details of the questions and results can be found here.
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