politics

Facebook, Google and TikTok promise to share more data to protect kids as Zahawi vows ‘I’m doing this for my daughter’


FACEBOOK, Google and TikTok have promises to share more data to protect kids as new Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi vow to protect his own daughter from violent online hate.

The cabinet minister, Culture Sec Nadine Dorries and Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza met with tech firms yesterday to discuss online harms and how to toughen up age verification on the web.

Nadhim Zahawi said as a parent to a nine-year-old girl he had to have honest chats with her about online safety

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Nadhim Zahawi said as a parent to a nine-year-old girl he had to have honest chats with her about online safetyCredit: Rex

Yesterday the tech giants agreed to share more data on how many children used their sites and pledged to be more “proactive” to stop them accessing violent material, porn or content like the promotion of eating disorders.

Mr Zahawi said: “As the father of a nine-year-old daughter who loves using the internet to watch people create art and teach herself new creative skills, I want to know she can do this safely.

“I want all young people, like my daughter, to be able to channel the benefits of being online in a wholesome and fun way without fear of stumbling onto violent or graphic material that, simply put, is still too accessible and gives young minds a false impression of what healthy, respectful relationships look like.

“I know I’m not the only parent concerned by this.”

He said he had been forced to have awkward conversations with his daughter to warn her about possible things she may see online, admitting parents need to have “honest conversations with our children.”

He added: “It is a daunting task, but one that can never start too early – including with my own daughter, whose teenage years are just around the corner.”

The Online Harms bill, which comes into force next year, could see tech bosses jailed if they ignore harmful or hateful content.

Ms Dorries added: “It is far too easy for children to access the worst corners of the internet, which can put them into the hands of groomers, into suicide chatrooms and damage their mental health.

“We are creating new laws to compel the owners of tech sites to protect children from seeing horrific things online, and today I’ve made clear to them that now is the time for action to sort out their algorithms, enforce their own age limits and be a force for good in young people’s lives.”

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