Safer Internet Day – Why It Should Be About More Than Just Protecting Children Online
On 8th February 2022, it is Safer Internet Day, which is all about making the internet a safer and better place, especially for children and young people.
We absolutely agree that this needs to happen. Far too many young people are being exposed to harmful information online, and also to hate speech and bullying. Everyone needs to come together to change the internet to protect young people.
However, the problem is not just with children. Adults also need protecting, and the legislation does not do anywhere near enough to govern companies who operate online.
Too Much Anonymity
A huge problem with social media and dating apps is the anonymity that is allowed. People hide behind their screens using a fake username and email address, and they say whatever they like – no matter how harmful. Many of them would not say the terrible things they do if these sites weren’t anonymised.
You may be thinking that they are not anonymous. Social sites such as Facebook show your name and photo. Now go and try to create a fake profile. You can do so in seconds and there is nothing to stop you.
If every social site and every dating app carried out real-time ID checks during the sign-up process, this would eliminate the anonymity and it would get rid of so many of the internet trolls. People could be held accountable for their actions rather than being untraceable. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?!
Far Too Many Criminals Online
The next problem is the fact that criminals, including sex offenders, can freely use social sites and dating apps because not only do they fail to carry out any ID checks and therefore allow fake profiles, but they also fail to carry out any criminal background check.
Even people working in sports clubs must have a basic DBS check as a bare minimum (which really isn’t adequate but it’s better than nothing at all), but on the internet, where millions of people are accessible, there are no background checks.
Sex offenders aren’t allowed near schools etc – but they are allowed to use a fake profile online where they can speak to as many children and adults as they like. It is utter madness!
What Safer Date is Doing to Make the Internet a Safer Place
Imagine a world where every social platform and dating app has to be regulated. Where they have to have a clear set of rules and legal standards to identify and vet people. Where no-one can be anonymous and spread their hateful words. Where no criminal can reinvent themselves time and time again to find their victims. Where there are no more daily headlines about romance fraud and other horrendous online dating related crimes. This is exactly what we want to achieve. This is Safer Date’s vision.
We carry out real-time ID checks on every member before allowing them to access our platform. We also offer thorough global criminal background checks which including cautions.
At Safer Date, we believe that every social site and every dating app should have strict legislation that enforces identification of every member upon signup.
In addition to this, all websites and apps with a lot of personal interaction should have the ability to carry out criminal background checks on their members. A Basic DBS check will show UK convictions which is a step in the right direction, but as it does not show any cautions or overseas criminal activity, it’s not enough.
Everyone deserves to be safe when they are browsing the internet – not only children but adults too – and it’s time for all online organisations to come together to make this happen.