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Parent Zone’s response to the Joint pre-legislative scrutiny Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill’s Call for Evidence

September 2021

A Joint Committee has been appointed to consider the government's draft bill to establish a new regulatory framework to tackle harmful content online.

Parent Zone welcomed the opportunity to submit our response to the Joint pre-legislative scrutiny. In our response, we highlight several factors we are concerned with: 

  • access to some platforms will be more tightly age-gated for children – but hardcore pornography sites will remain open to anyone
  • the ‘Duty of Care’ described in the bill does not extend to a ‘duty to take action’ when a child is known to be at risk – for example, a child posting self harm pictures or sharing naked images
  • whether the resources needed to provide media literacy information to parents will be made available
  • why gaming has been left out of a bill that is supposed to be designed to make the UK the safest country in the world to go online. 

In conclusion, our response calls for a simplification of the duty of care, which would help undo some of the anomalies and make it more responsive to harms – especially to new harms as they arise from innovative functionalities.

You can read our full response in the attachment.

Parent Zone research, reports and policy responses are developed and funded directly by Parent Zone and are entirely independent of any other projects.