A committee has demanded Theresa May threaten firms with new laws
GREEDY web giants are leaving a generation of school kids at risk cyber bullying and exploitation, peers blasted last night.
In a scathing report a cross-party Lords Committee demanded Theresa May threaten new laws unless internet and mobile phone firms protect children.
Peers said self-regulation had failed because companies were putting “commercial considerations” first.
It demanded hi-tech devices come with web filters set to “on” by default – to protect kids from vile content and “commercial exploitation”.
And they urged the PM to give a Cabinet Minister the role of Children’s Digital Champion.
They added teaching children about the internet was as important as the three Rs – reading writing and arithmetic.
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The Lords Communications Committee said there was currently a huge difference between rules for the web and those governing betting.
And it stormed: “The current regime of self-regulation is underperforming.
“The Committee believes that intervention at the highest level of Government is needed to promote the best interests of children online.”
Committee chair Lord Best said: “We believe that children must be treated online with the same right, respect and care that has been established through regulation in offline settings such as television and gambling.”
The NSPCC last night called the report a “pivotal moment” in the fight to make the UK the safest place for children when they go online. A spokesman said: “It’s clear we can’t rely on self-regulation and if we are to ensure children are safe online then these minimum standards must be a priority and industry properly held to account.”