West Suffolk MP calls for time-limits on youngsters using social media amid health and wellbeing concerns

PUBLISHED: 19:07 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 21:29 11 March 2018

Matt Hancock said measures were being evaluated to safeguard youngsters on social media. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Matt Hancock said measures were being evaluated to safeguard youngsters on social media. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has said that the government is considering introducing time limits for children using social media.

Katie Lawson, Huddl founder. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Katie Lawson, Huddl founder. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport said that posting and reading content online via social media platforms could have a negative affect on youngsters, including health and psychological concerns, and added that ministers were looking at measures to protect them.

He told The Times: “There is a genuine concern about the amount of screen time young people are clocking up and the negative impact it could have on their lives.

“For an adult I wouldn’t want to restrict the amount of time you are on a platform but for different ages it might be right to have different time cut-offs.”

Mr Hancock said that an age-verification system could be implemented, which would require social media users to be aged 13 or above.

Having a limited amount of time on those platforms, was another measure that was suggested.

Many of the most popular social network platforms already say users should be aged at least 13, but it is understood that ministers are evaluating whether stricter checks could be imposed.

Katie Lawson, who founded the social business Huddl which helps educate parents on areas of concern including online safety and cyber-bullying, pointed to Ofcom figures last year which suggested 29% of youngsters had seen something worrying or nasty online.

“Matt Hancock’s statement saying ‘more must be done to safeguard youngsters’ is correct,” she said.

“The proposal of an age verification system may work and certainly this along with government putting more pressure on social media companies to try to make the UK ‘the safest place in the world to be online’ is a great aim.

“Most platforms already demand a minimum age of 13 and we, the parents and carers, are currently the only regulators.”

Ms Lawson said the boundaries were often unclear, which is why it had launched Huddl Up events with Suffolk Mind to help educate parents, with the next event on April 12 at Quay Place in Ipswich focusing on social media.

She added that its research showed social media safety was still parents’ biggest concern.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sudbury Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sudbury Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sudbury Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other popular content

39 minutes ago

Hip fracture care at a Suffolk hospital has been rated best in the country.

Yesterday, 18:25

A taskforce set up to support staff at a Sudbury firm after it was earmarked for closure has been criticised by a trade union over its “lack of a coherent blueprint”.

Yesterday, 18:24

A primary school near Sudbury launched its daily mile campaign for pupils to coincide with this year’s Sport Relief.

10 minutes ago

The news came after Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst held a meeting with council leaders this week to discuss night-time trouble in the town.

Show Job Lists

Local weather



max temp: 9°C

min temp: 5°C

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24