UK Govt is considering restricting The Use of Social Media for Under-16s

Social Media Ban UK: Bloomberg quoted sources as saying on December 14 that the British government is studying how to restrict the use of social media by teenagers under the age of 16, including possible bans. Cabinet ministers plan to start consultations as early as January next year to discuss the evidence on the potential harm caused by the use of social media to young people.

Sources said the deliberations are still in the early stages and the policy may not ultimately be pursued. One of them believes the bans are unlikely to be included in the final plan. Another source also said that measures such as bans or improved parental supervision have not been ruled out.

“We are paying broad attention to the issue of protecting young people’s online safety.” British Prime Minister Sunak’s spokesperson Camilla Marshall told reporters at a regular briefing on the 14th, but she refused to comment on the specific measures being considered. Measures to comment.

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The British government announced on October 26 that the “Online Safety Bill” has been approved and officially became law. The law adopts a zero-tolerance approach to protect children from online harm; it also ensures that adults have more choices about the content they browse online, such as filtering out content they do not want to see. If these terms are not complied with, Ofcom may fine relevant companies up to £18 million (approximately 160 million yuan) or 10% of the company’s global annual revenue, whichever is greater. This means that some technology giants may face huge fines of up to billions of pounds if they violate relevant regulations.

Meanwhile, the National Crime Agency has warned British parents not to allow their children to use Facebook. Facebook’s previous decision to introduce encrypted messaging sparked security concerns, with some criticizing it as not protecting privacy but instead protecting those involved in crimes against children.

The popularity of social media among British teenagers has grown rapidly in recent years. According to the British “Independent” report in July, the annual news consumption survey released by Ofcom showed that among all social platforms, TikTok has become the single most commonly used news source among British teenagers aged 12 to 15 years old. Data shows that TikTok is the most popular among young people, with 28% of teenagers surveyed using it, followed by YouTube and Instagram, both at 25%.

Even among British adults, TikTok is becoming increasingly popular as a news source. The survey showed that one in 10 adults said they use TikTok to stay up to date with the latest news, surpassing BBC Radio 1 and Channel 5 for the first time, both at 8%.

The Financial Times pointed out that for years, traditional broadcasters have been trying to solve the problem of declining numbers of young viewers, who are increasingly turning to social media platforms for entertainment information and to understand the latest world events. The trend is particularly worrying for the BBC, which is in talks with the government over its future funding model.

Nic Newman, a senior fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, said that there is a major shift in the way people consume news, and more and more publishers are joining TikTok.

“The COVID-19 epidemic has caused huge changes because people are staying at home and people have time to talk about the epidemic on TikTok.” He said, “Although during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, we saw young people turning to traditional news brands – but this It doesn’t last very long, it kind of depends on what the subject is.”

Newman added that as for the impact on the industry, news publishers have been very reluctant to enter TikTok in the past, but in the past 12 months, we have seen most major publishers readjust their strategies, in part to reduce the exposure of young people to Risks of unreliable information.

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