Professor Bernadka Dubicka, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, commented on the news that the Online Safety Bill is returning to Parliament:
“We are delighted to see the Online Safety Bill finally return to the House of Commons. The tragic suicide of teenager Molly Russell highlights how children and young people are in desperate need of better protection online. The Government cannot delay any longer and must make sure the protections in the Bill come into effect as soon as possible.
“Despite the Bill’s return, there is still much more the government can do to fulfil their manifesto commitment to make the UK the safest place to be in the world online.
“We know that social media sites are designed in their very nature to be addictive, and are concerned about the effects this has on the mental health of young people. The Bill must do more to protect children from the dangers of addictive services and algorithms.
“We also must ensure the Bill is part of wider strategy to protect people online, including looking into the dangers posed by ‘loot-boxes’. Loot-boxes expose children to a form of gambling, and the government must follow other countries in regulating them.
“The Bill returning to the House of Commons is a positive first step, but if the Government are truly committed to protecting children online, they must prioritise its passage through Parliament.”