Ogmore MP, Chris Elmore, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, has welcomed the UK Government’s White Paper on “online harms” but called for further proposals to be adopted.
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright QC MP, published the White Paper on Monday which contained, among other things, the government’s strategy to tackle the impact social media can have on people’s mental health.
As the APPG Chair, Chris recently published a landmark report on this subject with the Royal Society for Public Health. The report, #NewFilters: to manage the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, is a call to action which aims to get to grips with the Wild West that online social media platforms have become.
Many of the key recommendations put forward in the report have been taken on board by the government in the White Paper, including the need to impose a statutory duty of care on social media providers.
A further key recommendation, which calls on the government to create a 0.5% levy on the profits of social media companies to fund vital research into the mental health impact of social media, has not yet been taken forward by ministers.
On Monday, Chris took the opportunity to raise this with the Secretary of State and stressed the need to better integrate research to ensure we are prepared for future challenges.
Speaking after the statement in Parliament, Chris Elmore MP said:
“I’m really pleased to see so many of the APPG’s recommendations have been adopted in the government’s White Paper. At a time when so much of our politics is increasingly polarised, it’s great to see that this cross-party work is having a tangible impact on government policy.
“Continuing in this collegiate spirit, I very much hope that ministers will look again at one of our key recommendations which was a 0.5 per cent levy on social media companies’ profits to fund a Social Media Health Alliance. This would be a really positive platform through which we can prepare ourselves with the necessary research we need to tackle the unforeseen challenges technological change will inevitably pose in the future.”
Chris has reaffirmed his commitment to work closely with the UK Government and the Royal Society for Public Health to ensure the most positive outcomes for social media users are achieved.