The UK Council for Child Internet Safety has released “A Practical Guide for Providers of Social Media and Interactive Services.” The guide is meant to help service providers implement online safety measures into their web or mobile business models. Below is a quick reference guide, which is expounded upon in the full report.
1. Managing Content on Your Service
- Decide what content is acceptable on your service, and how you’ll make this clear to users.
- Be clear on minimum age limits, and discourage those who are too young.
- Consider different default protections for accounts that are opened by under 18s.
- Plan and regularly update how you’ll manage inappropriate or illegal content posted on your site.
- Consider using available age verification and identity authentication solutions.
- Plan now for dealing with illegal content.
- For under-13s, consider a walled garden environment and pre-moderating content before users see it. Also become familiar with the UK rules to advertising to children.
2. Parental Controls
- Consider parental controls that are designed for your service.
- Be aware how different parental controls might interact with your website or app.
3. Dealing with Abuse/Misuse
- Explain to users the type of behaviour you do and don’t allow on your service.
- Make it easy for users to report problem content to you.
- Create a triage system to deal with content reports.
- Work with experts to give users additional information and local support.
- For under-13s, talk in their language, and pre- and post-moderate their content.
4. Dealing with Child Sexual Abuse Content and Illegal Contact
- Give your users a standardised function for them to report child sexual abuse content and illegal sexual contact.
- Have a specialist team, who are themselves supported, to review these reports.
- Consider technology such as PhotoDNA and working with relevant bodies such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to help remove child sexual abuse content.
- Escalate reports of child sexual abuse content and illegal sexual contact to the appropriate channel for investigation.
- Tell users how they can report child sexual abuse content or illegal sexual contact directly to the relevant authorities and/or where to obtain further advice. The Guide at a Glance
5. Privacy and Controls
- Only collect the personal data you actually need for your service.
- Tell users what information you collect, why and how long you’ll keep it.
- Give users reasonable choices about how to use their personal information and specific types of data, such as geolocation data.
- Offer privacy settings options, including privacy-by-default, to give control to your users.
- Involve parents/guardians if you collect personal data from under-18s.
- For under-13s, have stricter privacy measures to help them understand the implications of sharing information.
6. Education and Awareness
- Educate users about safety as part of the experience on your platform.
- Work with parents, educators, users and their communities to raise awareness about online child safety.
- Work with experts to help develop your messages and to reach different communities.
- For under-13s, tailor the language and approach so they will take an interest.