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‘Social media companies are failing to keep young people safe online’ – Children’s Commissioner

24 July 2023

Commenting on a BBC Wales investigation into how social media apps can be used to criminally and sexually exploit children, Rocio Cifuentes MBE said:

“Social media companies are failing to keep young people safe online, and the changes that are desperately needed to hold them effectively to account cannot come soon enough. New regulations need to make sure children are protected from harmful content, other users, and need to vastly improve the way platforms deal with reported problems. Children and young people themselves need to be involved in this work. They must be empowered to use their experiences to shape changes to policy and practice.

“My advice to children would be talk to somebody you trust straight away if something happens online that makes you feel worried or doesn’t feel right. For parents, there are online guides from the Welsh Government and the NSPCC explaining the risks of numerous social media platforms and online games. I also think it’s important to try to build an environment at home where discussions about online use are regular and open.

“Exploitation can be very difficult for children and young people to recognise themselves or understand. It is essential that parents, carers and those working with children can feel confident in recognising the signs and indicators of this. There are guides available on spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation from the Welsh Government, the NHS, and the NSPCC.”