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Are social networking sites doing enough to protect children?

November 21, 2009

Head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Jim Gamble, is not convinced as the main social networking sites lag behind in providing sufficient security for our teens against the occurrence of cyber-bullying (please see statistics at the end of the BBC article on this topic) or paedophiles . Mr Gamble has suggested the integration of an accessible ‘report abuse’ button into these sites so that children are only a step away from 24 hour help. Luckily Bebo, which is the main site for social networking, used by teenagers, has now agreed to fall into line and ensure security with such a button. However, implementing the button seems to be causing some technical problems at the moment. It seems that the position of Facebook is to learn “from Bebo’s experience of using the CEOP button”. Myspace, has its own ‘report abuse’ button but is not as prominently placed on their pages compared with the CEOP button. Although some social networking sites are concerned about losing advertising space it is a vital opportunity for them to set the trend and champion the rights of their main users.