Former Tory children’s minister Tim Loughton and Labour’s youth affairs spokeswoman Cat Smith are backing the move
SOCIAL media giants must do more to protect young people’s mental health or face a “tech tax”, a report warns.
Experts want internet firms to ensure their sites are safe and supportive places for kids.
But they say platforms operated by firms such as Google, Twitter and Facebook can have a devastating impact on their users’ emotional well-being.
Now they should be urged to re-invest some of their vast profits into safeguards, says a report by children’s charity Barnardo’s and the ResPublica think tank.
The cash could be used for action to flag up heavy social media use and identify users with mental health issues.
It could also be spent on tools and information on how to cope with online bullying and warn users before they view certain content.
Firms who refuse to co-operate should be clobbered by a new tax to pay for centrally-funded safeguards, the report suggests.
Tory MP Tim Loughton, the former children’s mijnister, and Labour’s youth affairs spokeswoman Cat Smith are backing the move.
Instagram, in which users post pictures and selfies, is rated as the worst social media site when it comes to affecting yougnsters’ mental health, according to a recent snapshot survey.
Barnardo’s boss Javed Khan said: “The paper sets out a clear-sighted picture of how the help we provide as a country to our most vulnerable children will need to change in the coming years.
“Government must seize this opportunity and accompany us as we undertake the task of converting its ambitions into reality.”
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