Australian Government Encouraged to Protect Children from Social Media

Concerns that spending too much time online and on sites such as Facebook and Twitter as children unpack their smartphones and laptops at Christmas can adversely affect the physical and mental health of vulnerable young Australians. Is increasing.

Federal parliament Contact social media As for online safety, we’ve heard concerns that Big Tech puts privacy first, children’s safety first, and calls for government intervention.

Child safety advocate Sonya Ryan has expressed concern that children using the platform without restrictions will provide opportunities for predators.

Her daughter, Curly, was killed in 2007 by serial pedophile Gary Francis Newman after making friends with a 15-year-old girl online.

“We need to take every step when it comes to youth safety,” she answered the question on December 21st.

Epoch Times Photo
Sonya Ryan defends online security at a press conference at the Capitol in Canberra, Australia, on June 15, 2021. (AAP Image / Mick Tsikas)

Ryan said the case could have been avoided, but the social media platform refused to work with law enforcement agencies due to privacy concerns.

“Privacy is more important than protection and safety of young people,” she said.

Sarah Davies, CEO of Alannah and the Madeline Foundation, said social media platforms should be designed to adopt the “safety by design” principle.

“It’s unreasonable to expect children and young people to keep themselves safe online,” Davis said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously supported the investigation, citing the prevalence of “toxic substances” prevailing on social media platforms.

“Mom and dad are rightly worried if Big Tech is doing enough to keep their kids safe online,” Morrison said. Said in a statement December 1st. “Big Tech has created these platforms. It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your users.”

The Big Tech Giants logo will appear on your tablet on October 1, 2019. (Denis Charlet / AFP via Getty Images)

To this end, the Government has established an Online Safety Youth Advisory Board to help advise the federal government on online safety issues that affect young people, with up to 20 young people aged 13-24. Consists of Australians.

Australia is considering a breakthrough privacy law amendment (strengthening online privacy and other measures) bill 2021, including all media platforms that require parental consent of users under the age of 16. is.

Previously, warning signs were also given to the mental and physical health of Australian adolescents who frequently stare at electronic screens.

Young Australians who increase their digital screen time at the expense of sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet are at increased risk of mental health problems, obesity, and chronic illness, according to a study released in November. ..

After whistleblower Frances Haugen published tens of thousands of Facebook documents, some of the recent concerns have exacerbated and outline how the company knew the platform was unhealthy for minors. doing.

Social media platforms are generally closely monitored by the federal government, and if new legislation is passed, Big Tech will be considered the “publisher” and will be responsible for any defamatory comments posted on the platform.

However, Big Tech can avoid accountability if it reveals the identity of the associated individual. This is a scrutinized issue of the potential for sacrificing an individual’s online anonymity.

If you or someone you know needs help with their mental health, call the 13 11 14 Lifeline (800) 273-8255 Suicide Hotline in Australia or the United States.

Daniel Kumerev


Daniel Khmelev is a Perth-based Australian reporter working on energy, technology and politics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics and computer science. Contact him at [email protected]