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The Online Safety Bill: Regulating The Wild West Online

By Ella Watson, guest writer

The internet has been largely unregulated and this affects the lives of children. Lighthouse International Group is supportive of any changes that mean that our children are protected.

The online safety bill currently being discussed in UK parliament comes at a welcome time!

It not only fits in nicely with the efforts by Lighthouse International Group against trolls but also with the rise in online bullying that was observed over the pandemic (a 20% rise in online hate speech according to Sky News).

The Main Aims of The Proposed Online Safety Bill

The bill has three main aims:

1. To prevent the spread of illegal content and activity such as images of child abuse, terrorist material and hate crimes, including racist abuse.

2. Protect children from harmful material.

3. Protect adults from legal - but harmful - content.

Proposed Plan to Protect Our Children Against Online Abuse

As these aims are discussed further in the proposed bill, a five-point plan has been laid out which targets much-needed areas in protecting our children against online abuse:

1. Disrupt grooming pathways

2. Tackle how offenders use social media to organise abuse

3. Have a named manager responsible for children's safety

4. Give more powers to combat abuse in private messaging

5. Set up a statutory body to represent the interests of children

Lighthouse International Group Initiatives: Parents Against Trolls & Business Against Trolls

This combined with the efforts of Lighthouse International Group's Parents Against Trolls and Business Against Trolls initiative should make for a rather ironclad protection for children and adults!

Having the appropriate legislation in place could take years to come into place so we need to make sure that we as individuals are educating our children by helping them to develop a foundation of principle-centred wisdom. We also need to ensure that businesses are not harbouring trolls and by employing them they are actively funding their malicious activity. Often these trolls cause damage within the very organisation that is employing them! This highlights the desperate and urgent need for Parents against Trolls and Business Against Trolls.

This is particularly important as more child predators now use messaging apps, as opposed to the dark web, with many not even encrypting their web traffic.

Some clauses being included in the bill include tech giants being legally held responsible for allowing online abuse and illegal content on their sites. As lawyer Yair Cohen, from Cohen Davis Solicitors, told the BBC, "Knowing that their identity could be easily unravelled would deter 90% of online abusers, most of whom are otherwise normative individuals."

This is a very important point as has been discussed time and again regarding the abuse against Lighthouse International Group, that it was the anonymity the abusers were taking advantage of. Any posts that revealed the identity of these trolls would be taken down immediately on sites like Reddit.

Another big focus of the bill is also to curb the increasing targeting of women and young girls with threats of violence and cyber-flashing.

This bill is likely to set a global example of the standards expected of regulated use of the internet and finally, start to address the Wild West situation we see online.

You can watch Lighthouse International Group's Paul Waugh contribute to the debate on online anonymity with this feature on ITV News.

To stand with us against trolls and trolling, please register on the Parents Against Trolls website.

You can read about how the people at Lighthouse have been helped by checking out our new Lighthouse Community website. Just click the link here. 

You can also learn on social media about our discoveries into human potential from the last 18 years through our pioneering research. 

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