The Guardian view on social media harms: the tech giants must be more open | Editorial

The online safety bill was a start, but campaigners are right to demand more, especially in situations where a child has has died

Bereaved parents of children whose deaths have been linked to social media are crucial voices in the debate over how to ensure that under-18s are not harmed by their experiences online. Two years ago, a coroner’s verdict that the death of Molly Russell was contributed to by “the negative effects of online content”, including algorithmically delivered self-harm material, was a watershed moment. Now Ellen Roome, whose son Jools Sweeney took his own life for unknown reasons in Cheltenham in 2022, has become the latest campaigner for changes to the law in this area.

Her petition calling for parents whose children have died to have a right of access to social media accounts has attracted 120,000 signatures and is likely to be debated by MPs early in the next parliament. While the online safety bill, which received royal assent in October, significantly strengthened a weak and outdated regulatory framework, Ms Roome and the other families in the Bereaved Parents for Online Safety group are right that more needs to be done.

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here.

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​The online safety bill was a start, but campaigners are right to demand more, especially in situations where a child has has diedBereaved parents of children whose deaths have been linked to social media are crucial voices in the debate over how to ensure that under-18s are not harmed by their experiences online. Two years ago, a coroner’s verdict that the death of Molly Russell was contributed to by “the negative effects of online content”, including algorithmically delivered self-harm material, was a watershed moment. Now Ellen Roome, whose son Jools Sweeney took his own life for unknown reasons in Cheltenham in 2022, has become the latest campaigner for changes to the law in this area.Her petition calling for parents whose children have died to have a right of access to social media accounts has attracted 120,000 signatures and is likely to be debated by MPs early in the next parliament. While the online safety bill, which received royal assent in October, significantly strengthened a weak and outdated regulatory framework, Ms Roome and the other families in the Bereaved Parents for Online Safety group are right that more needs to be done.Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here. Continue reading… 


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