UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt Wants Tech Companies To Ban Under-18s From Sexting

Social Media

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for social media companies to “step up to the plate” and better protect youngsters from the online threats of sexting and cyberbulling.

Hunt relayed his concerns about the safety of minors online to the Commons Health Committee as part of his plans to implement better suicide prevention policies.

The Tory minister said social media companies should be doing more to protect the mental health of teens, suggesting that tech companies should try to block under-18s from sexting.

Hunt said: “I think social media companies need to step up to the plate and show us how they can be the solution to the issue of mental ill-health amongst teenagers and not the cause of the problem.

“And I think that there is a lot of evidence that the technology industry, if they put their minds to it, can do really smart things.

“For example, I just asked myself the simple question as to why it is that you can’t prevent the texting of sexually explicit images by people under the age of 18, if that’s a lock that parents choose to put on a mobile phone contract, because there’s technology that can identify sexually explicit pictures and prevent it being transmitted.

“So that’s something I ask myself, why we can’t identify cyberbullying when it happens on social media platforms by word pattern recognition and then prevent it happening.

“I think there’s a lot of things where social media companies could put options in their software that could reduce the risks associated with social media and I do think that this is something which they should actively pursue in a way that hasn’t happened to date.”

Hunt’s comment comes after news that the government is planning to block porn sites that don’t have age-verification measures.

Read more about it here.

Emma Woodley

Emma is a reporter at Global Dating Insights. Originally from Surrey, she has studied Communication and Media at Bournemouth University and The University of Central Florida. She enjoys socialising with friends, exploring new places and can often be found with her nose in a book.

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