The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) released the results of a new survey.
The results identified the top sites exposing children to suicide, violence, bullying, sexual content, drinking, drugs and other adult subjects.
The NSPCC report pointed to Facebook and YouTube as the top offenders when it came to exposing kids to content of this nature. The data was shared by the highest-profile children’s charity in the United Kingdom. To come to its conclusions, the charity used reviews from over 4,000 parents and youth. The outcome was a table that gauged websites and other connected experiences in terms of their threat of exposing children to risky subject matter and situations.
Facebook, YouTube and Grand Theft Auto: San Antonio were deemed to be the worst offenders in cases of this nature.
The findings followed closely on the heels of a British government announcement regarding the introduction of new laws to provide greater oversight and restrictions over social media companies. This included the intention to apply a fine for permitting users under the age of 13 years.
On the other end of the scale, Tumblr and Instagram were among the best performers among the top social media sites. Still, while Tumblr was considered the most positive experience among them, it was still labeled a “yellow” site (where red is the worst, yellow poses a moderate risk and green poses a low risk).
Instagram’s yellow rating came as a surprise to many as that social network is often considered to provide a positive, wholesome experience. Instead, it ranked high I bullying and sexual content.
Seeking Government Intervention
The NSPCC has joined other charities in writing to the British government to reveal the findings of their research. The goal is to illustrate the types of risks presented to children who use Facebook and YouTube.
“Facebook and YouTube still do not provide any meaningful information on the volume of reports relating to children, and the outcomes of such reports. These are woeful examples of the transparency that we can expect if we continue with self-regulation,” said UK Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety secretary, John Carr.
“The effect of this lack of transparency is that social networks are not being held to account for the measures they take to protect children, nor are they held to account for whether these measures are effective,” he added.