It builds on its initial response from February 2020, however much of the specifics of the final regulation are still to be determined.
Categories of harm and remit threshold levels are yet to be defined, exactly who is and isn’t in scope and the final implications for them aren’t yet finalised. As a regulator, Ofcom’s tasks include defining terminology, devising Codes of Practice and Guidance, as well as overseeing research and media literacy programmes.
What are the implications for young people’s online safety?
By targeting the greatest harms and focussing on vulnerable groups, the regulation aims to enable UK users, and young people, in particular, to enjoy the benefits of online life more safely.
There is also a range of interim measures proposed while the final form of the Online Safety Bill is determined, and many of these focus on issues relevant to young people including codes and guidance around social media, screen time, child abuse and self-harm.
However, until the forthcoming Online Safety Bill is in place and Ofcom’s approach is known the exact implications, and whether they will create a regime where fewer children are exposed to risk or come to harm, are unclear.
We believe three things need to happen to keep children safe online, which could be supported by the new Bill:
A collaborative approach to developing the new regulatory frameworks is proposed in this response, along with an array of research. Our wide-ranging network of industry and experts are well placed to inform this work and the final shape of regulatory expectations for online harms in the UK.