Do the OSA and Ofcom's children's codes go far enough?

14/05/2024 | Financial Times

Following Ofcom's release of its draft children's safety codes of practice under the Online Safety Act 2023 (OSA), two articles in the Financial Times (£) and The Guardian question whether the codes go far enough and if the OSA will deliver much-needed protections for minors accessing the Internet. 

The FT writes that similar to the 19th century, which saw more than 10 Factory Acts dealing with different impacts of industrialisation, the OSA and its corresponding children's code "are a response to the huge changes brought forth by the rapid adoption of unaccountable digital products fuelled by advertising." The FT goes on to highlight that technology companies have been "wilfully ignoring children" for more than two decades. The Guardian highlights experts' concerns that Ofcom's efforts will result in well-meaning content being blocked along with the bad. 

Meanwhile, in the US, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will livestream a hearing on 16 Maywhich will include a discussion on the Kids Off Social Media Act. The bill sets a minimum age of 13 for children to use social media platforms and prevents companies from using algorithms to target content at children under 17.

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