Expert lawyer calls for new laws to protect children online
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Leading child abuse lawyer Malcolm Johnson today called for a new Act to help ensure child safety on social media platforms. His comments come amid concern over “incomprehensible” terms and conditions leaving children to “fend for themselves”.
Malcolm, of BL Claims Solicitors, is a founder member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers and the co-author of Jordans “Child Abuse Compensation Claims”, the definitive text in this area.
He argues that while owners of physical spaces such as playgrounds are obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors, there is no such legislation that applies to social media.
Malcolm Johnson, a child abuse claims specialist at BL Claims Solicitors, says: “This is about child protection. You don't run a playground and expect children to read a ten page notice about the terms and conditions before they climb on the swings.
“The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 imposes a duty on property owners 'to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.'
“The Act also says that an occupier must be prepared for children to be less careful than adults.
“What we need is something similar for the internet age. Media sites such as Facebook and mobile phone companies make huge profits from their traffic. It is time for them to plough some of that money back into keeping children and adults safe.
“They should also work with the government to set up comprehensive legislation.”
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