Social media companies should take their civic responsibilities seriously and not wait for the Government, communities or schools to react to online safety concerns, the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA) has said.
Minister for Communications Richard Bruton announced plans for new internet safety laws this week. They include the appointment of an Online Safety Commissioner who could prosecute and fine companies that break the new rules.
Welcoming the initiative, Seamus Mulconry of the CPSMA said: “We need to look seriously at the major tech companies and making sure they actually behave in a fully responsible fashion.
“Technology companies are collecting vast amounts of information, it’s about time that we saw a similar sense of responsibility and that they played their role and that they start bringing solutions to Government and society not just waiting for other people to do so.”
The safety commissioner would have the power to order social media and internet firms to remove content that breaches the agreed codes of conduct. Cyber bullying and content deemed to be seriously intimidating, harassing, humiliating or threatening are all included.
Mr Mulconry, albeit positive about the Government “stepping up” to ensure a safer online environment, says new initiatives shouldn’t just focus on negative content.
“It’s also about the fact that if you look at the amount of time children are now spending on social media, that is having an impact in terms of their socialisation, in terms of their physical exercise or lack of it and also in terms of sleeps and that all of these are having a negative impact,” he added.