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UK plans social media regulation; Ofcom publishes digital dependency research

UK plans social media regulation; Ofcom publishes digital dependency research

UK ministers have started drafting proposals for new laws to regulate social media and the internet, according to the Daily Telegraph. “The move has been prompted by widespread consumer concerns over a range of online harms including child abuse, bullying, fake news and internet addiction. The white paper is being drafted by three government departments – the home office, culture and health – but it is still unclear if they will introduce a wide-ranging statutory duty of care.” The Daily Telegraph has been campaigning for such a duty of care to provide bullet proof protection for parents and children from online harms. A culture department spokesman said: “This winter we will publish a white paper, setting out new laws to tackle the full range of online harms and set clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe.” Meanwhile UK regulator, Ofcom reports in its Communications Market Report that most people in the UK are dependent on their digital devices, and need a constant connection to the internet. The year 2008 was the year the smartphone took off in the UK. With the iPhone and Android fresh into the UK market, 17% of people owned a smartphone a decade ago. That has now reached 78%, in Ofcom’s latest figures, and 95% among 16-24 year-olds. The smartphone is now the device people say they would miss the most, dominating many people’s lives in both positive and negative ways. People in the UK now check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day. Two in five adults (40%) first look at their phone within 5 minutes of waking up, climbing to 65% of those aged under 35. Similarly, 37% of adults check their phones 5 minutes before lights out, again rising to 60% of under-35s. In contrast to a decade ago, most people now say they need and expect a constant internet connection, wherever they go. Two thirds of adults (64%) say the internet is an essential part of their life. One in five adults (19%) say they spend more than 40 hours a week online, up from 5% just over ten years ago. For the first time this year, women spend more time online than men. Read more

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

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