The ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza has raised concerns that people may come across harmful content online related to the conflict.
Steps you can take
Office of Communications (Ofcom) recognize that many people have concerns – especially parents of children who use online services – and are looking for help. There are also things you can do if you come across videos, images or other types of harmful content online, which can help protect you, your family and others from this type of content.
- If you see harmful content online – not just related to the conflict in Israel and Gaza – report it directly to the platform. Do not share it. This only helps spread the content for others to see.
- If you are a parent or carer, consider using parental controls on any devices that children use to access online content, to reduce the risk of them coming across potentially harmful content.
- Talk to children about what they do and see online, and remind them of the need to stay safe. Encourage them to tell you if they have seen something online that they think is harmful – this will help you report it to the platform.
There are also a range of resources available from different organisations, which can help if you or your children have been affected by content you have seen.
- How to help young people after a violent incident.
- Terrorist attacks: discussing them with secondary school pupils.
- Help for young people if they are upset by a news story (2.52m video)
Actions Ofcom is taking
Ofcom has already written to video sharing platforms established in the UK to remind them of the need to protect their users from such content.
The role as the regulator of VSPs established in the UK, Ofcom cannot order platforms to remove or block content. But they work closely with them to make sure they fulfill their responsibility to implement systems and processes to predict and respond to the possible spread of harmful material.
If you have reported content to a UK-based video sharing platform but are dissatisfied with the outcome or have concerns about the platform’s security measures – for example, any problems with reporting, flagging or age verification functions – then you can complain to Ofcom.
As they wait for the new Online Safety Bill to receive Royal Assent, Ofcom also expect future regulated platforms to protect consumers from harm online in the same way .
Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services that all we use and rely on each day.
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