Almost half of UK internet users 'harmed' online: regulation needed

Alpha1

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Bad experiences included unwelcome attention via social media, trolling and bullying as well as theft of data or personal information.

Across all these categories, roughly 20% of people reported that their experience had been "very harmful".

About 20% of those questioned said they reported offensive or harmful content when they encountered it. Hate speech, harassment and illegal sexual content were most likely to be reported.

In addition, many of those questioned were concerned about the effect on children of easy access to the net and potentially harmful content or interaction.

The research has been released shortly before Ofcom boss Sharon White gives a speech at the Royal Television Society conference in which she is expected to say the harms have arisen because of a lack of regulation.

"While the regulation of online content has evolved in recent years, there are significant disparities in whether and how it is regulated," she said in a statement released alongside the research.

Ms White suggested that some of the principles underlying what the UK's broadcasters can show could help shape regulation for social media and other online platforms.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45519507
 

Nev_Dull

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I agree. More regulation is needed -- self regulation. If you don't like it, don't look at it.
 

bernard

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Sticks and stones might break my bones
but words on the internet need regulation and censorship
 

StaticAge

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People should definitely be aware of the type of things that happen online and it would be beneficial for them to be able to ignore it and not let it affect them, but it would also be nice for people to not be dicks. I'm not sure why so many people seem to think the person on the receiving end is at fault all the time. Yes, some people overreact and see problems when there aren't any, but maybe it would be nice if we could at least try to get people to be nice to each other or maybe try to limit the way people can send abuse/hate.
 

Nev_Dull

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but maybe it would be nice if we could at least try to get people to be nice to each other
Last time someone suggested that, he was nailed to a tree and turned into a deity.

I agree with what you're saying, but short of turning back the clock 25 years or so, it isn't likely to happen. It was easy on the early internet because it was a system for disseminating information. If you didn't like the message, you could ignore it. The modern internet is all about communication -- or at least the increasing ability to instantly send and receive messages in various forms. More importantly, we can do it more or less anonymously and without repercussions. There is no way to effectively block all the incoming bad stuff without losing access to the good stuff. Users need to develop their own internal filter system and learn to ignore all the crap.
 

StaticAge

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Last time someone suggested that, he was nailed to a tree and turned into a deity.

I agree with what you're saying, but short of turning back the clock 25 years or so, it isn't likely to happen. It was easy on the early internet because it was a system for disseminating information. If you didn't like the message, you could ignore it. The modern internet is all about communication -- or at least the increasing ability to instantly send and receive messages in various forms. More importantly, we can do it more or less anonymously and without repercussions. There is no way to effectively block all the incoming bad stuff without losing access to the good stuff. Users need to develop their own internal filter system and learn to ignore all the crap.
Yeah I can't disagree with that, I get what you're saying.

I dunno. I'm not saying I have any answers and that there should be some suddenly be some ridiculously strict rules or laws or anything, but if there was some kind of gradual nudge and a wink kind of way we could try to steer mindsets in the direction that maybe be focusing on being nicer to each other rather than just letting anything and everything go just because that's the way it is.

*suddenly John Lennon's "Imagine" starts to play in the background*
 

Tracy Perry

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Grow a thicker skin?
Why do that when its more fun to create more legislation to control people and tell them what to do/think.

Thicker skin is only a part of the older generation(s). The younger ones that have been given their participation awards for a lot of their life think everything consists of rainbows and unicorns.
 

Tracy Perry

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nd see problems when there aren't any, but maybe it would be nice if we could at least try to get people to be nice to each other or maybe try to limit the way people can send abuse/hate.
There have always been haters and will always be haters. The thing is, one has to realize that and then just accept it. We've done the youth no favors with the way they have been over-protected.
 
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Nev_Dull

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I would argue the issue is far more complex than over-protected youth. I would say, in some respects, it's the opposite when it comes to the virtual world.

We old farts came to the internet when it was new. It was wild and strange and full of promise. We also brought with us our existing social mores, learned from our social experiences in the real world. Many of the you people online today don't have that same experience. Nearly all their social interaction takes place online where there are no guidelines, no rules, no limits. In many ways, this generation has grown up almost feral. It shouldn't be surprising that bullying, attacks, and all the rest are considered "normal" online behaviour.
 

Tracy Perry

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I would argue the issue is far more complex than over-protected youth. I would say, in some respects, it's the opposite when it comes to the virtual world.
Nope.... used to you called somebody a bloated overweight tea-bag and they weren't scarred for life. Nowadays you do that and they'll have nightmares until they reach their grave.
In many ways todays society is worse off than it was 30 years ago.

Many of the you people online today don't have that same experience. Nearly all their social interaction takes place online where there are no guidelines, no rules, no limits. In many ways, this generation has grown up almost feral.
And who's fault is that? Thanks Dr. Spock & Co.
Bullying went on before the internet.... it's no new thing. The difference was we were taught how to handle it in a mature manner generally. If that didn't help, a fistfight wasn't out of the question. ;)

There are many kids running around (and I classify that from 20's downward) that honestly should never have been born as their parents didn't raise them. They just had them and then let them do as they wanted and then made excuses for them when they got in trouble.
Classic case was the affluenza ****head here in Texas. And Momma and he are STILL getting into legal trouble.
Back then while growing up it wasn't unusual to get caught by a neighbor doing something wrong, get a strong lecture (if not sometimes a spat on the ass) and then when mom & dad got home get a spanking from each of them. God forbid if you did that now. You'd get arrested and accused of child abuse and having scarred poor little Johnny for life.
 
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Nev_Dull

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And who's fault is that? Thanks Dr. Spock & Co.
Bullying went on before the internet.... it's no new thing. The difference was we were taught how to handle it in a mature manner generally. If that didn't help, a fistfight wasn't out of the question.
It's not the good Doc at fault, it's the parents who let their children live on the internet without ever bothering to talk to them about it or providing much in the way of guidance. As for bullying, yes, it's been around for a long time. It's a whole lot different online, though. Kids can't stand up to a cyber bully in the schoolyard and these modern bullies are more likely to be treated as heroes than villains by the online crowd. Again, it's something strong parenting skills could help with.

In many ways todays society is worse off than it was 30 years ago.
I can't disagree with that. I wonder sometimes what the world will be like in another 30. Our technology is is growing in leaps and bounds but psychologically and cognitively, we haven't developed very far from those who crawled out of the caves.
 

Tracy Perry

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It's not the good Doc at fault,
In a nutshell his theory consisted of
Tell her she's special and loved and unique. Feed him when he's hungry. Discipline with words, not corporal punishment.
Sorry, just because you are hungry doesn't mean you get fed right then. That's what schedules are for... and it taught you patience - something todays society lacks. Dr. Spock's method taught an instant gratification of needs.
As for discipline with words and not corporal punishment, it left the child not realizing consequences of action. To most kids, getting a lecture does not (and did not) bother them. What they were MORE afraid of was the proverbial ass whooping one would get if one misbehaved or being grounded for extended time along with the ass whooping. It's how laws keep control of people... it's not through talking with them - it's through making them afraid of the consequences, which could be spending an extended time in a penal facility where you whole life structure is controlled by others (which is what the parents should have been doing in their childhood to them).
Timeouts are a joke.... here Johnny, you misbehaved, go sit in corner for 30 minutes and think on what you did. The issue was the latch key children.... folks that were not mature/grown themselves having kids and letting the animals run wild. There is no easy way to turn back that clock.

let their children live on the internet without ever bothering to talk to them about it or providing much in the way of guidance.
Where do you think they leaned their parenting skills from? Most of them that have "kids" (30's and younger) were a product of the Dr. Spock Generation method of raising a child.
 

mysiteguy

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Older folks have always complained about how the younger generation has it easier, is pampered, spoiled, lacks manners, etc.

-----------------------------------
Young people are high-minded because they have not yet been humbled by life, nor have they experienced the force of circumstances. They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it. - ~400 BC, Aristotle

Our sires' age was worse than our grandsires'. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more
corrupt. - 20 BC, Horace

I find by sad Experience how the Towns and Streets are filled with lewd wicked Children, and many Children as they have played about the Streets have been heard to curse and swear and call one another Nick-names, and it would grieve ones Heart to hear what bawdy and filthy Communications proceeds from the Mouths of such. - 1695 Being Good Counsel and Instructions for Your Children

Whither are the manly vigor and athletic appearance of our forefathers flown? Can these be their legitimate heirs? Surely, no; a race of effeminate, self-admiring, emaciated fribbles can never have descended in a direct line from the heroes of Potiers and Agincourt... -- 1771, written in Town and Country Magazine

The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison? - 1790, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family

Never has youth been exposed to such dangers of both perversion and arrest as in our own land and day. Increasing urban life with its temptations, prematurities, sedentary occupations, and passive stimuli just when an active life is most needed, early emancipation and a lessening sense for both duty and discipline, the haste to know and do all befitting man's estate before its time, the mad rush for sudden wealth and the reckless fashions set by its gilded youth--all these lack some of the regulations they still have in older lands with more conservative conditions. - 1904, Psychology of Adolescence

-----------------------------------

Fact is compared to boomers and Gen-X,
millennials have the lowest pregnancy rate of any generation tracked. The "conservative" 1950s had the highest.
Lowest teen abortion rates
Lower illiteracy rates
Believe it or not, lower debt than Gen-X and Boomers, and better credit scores.
More likely to hold businesses accountable when they act badly.
Commit less crime than Gen-X and Boomers did at the same ages.
Have lower rates of infidelity.
More likely to donate directly to causes then via a charity because they want more accountability.

I see mean and nasty people of all ages on the Internet, and remember some downright nasty flamewars, name-calling, etc in the 1990s. Even knew one guy who had enough of someone's nasty anti-Semitic remarks about his mother, and flew across the country to beat the crap out of them. People were writting about online nastiness back then too:

11 years ago
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/internet-anonymity-a-recipe-for-meanness/

2002
https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/1020/WP02-03B.html

1994
http://www.digital.net/~gandalf/trollfaq.html

I don't think it's gotten worse per online capita, I think there are simply so many more people on the Internet now that we simply see it more often.
 

Solidus

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More laws, less freedom. The UK is going a very bad way.
People are insane to prioritize safety over freedom. If you can't handle mean words on the internet, the problem is you.
 

Shimei

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About 20% of those questioned said they reported offensive or harmful content when they encountered it. Hate speech, harassment and illegal sexual content were most likely to be reported.

Just curious, by what standard is anything considered offensive or harmful? By what standard is something considered hate speech, harassing, or illegal sexual content?

I'd especially like to know what is considered acceptable sexual content by the UK?
 

zappaDPJ

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I'd especially like to know what is considered acceptable sexual content by the UK?

The UK has traditionally been quite restrained in that area although things have changed considerably in recent years. By content are you referring specifically to forums/websites or other forms of media outlets?
 

Shimei

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The UK has traditionally been quite restrained in that area although things have changed considerably in recent years. By content are you referring specifically to forums/websites or other forms of media outlets?

I'd like to first thank you for asking me for clarification. As I was writing my post I thought someone is going to blast me without asking. You proved me wrong.

To answer your question, any.

For example, in the EU I spent 3 months over there. I couldn't help but notice Pornographic commercials and even in the phone book entire yellow pages full of prostitutes and escort services. I remember a particular commercial for Mercedes that was selling their product. It boasted about their suspension and the commercial displayed two people rocking sexually (intercourse) together on the hood of the Mercedes. The car rocked up and down and that was their point about such a good ride. With the recent push of many countries to accept LGBT etc even a same sex kiss could be considered inappropriate by any religious standard, that is, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and even Hinduism. That's why I am asking according to what standard. Though we are different religions, all true religions consider the homosexual lifestyle inappropriate and therefore a sin. But, please don't be persuaded by a majority rule. Lemme explain:

Why would the internet be subjected to a criteria or standard that not even TV or the Yellow Pages are held to? If society dictates moral behavior then whatever the majority decides is deemed moral and the standard. Anything that society doesn't deem appropriate falls outside the social norm and thus is abnormal.

As you know, I am a religious person, and don't look towards people for what is acceptable or not, society or the majority of people are not my god, I look to a much higher power and the standard set by God.

I understand that you as the administrator on a tech site probably want only tech information. However, if we discuss laws governing the internet I can't see how this site and you Mr. Zappa which set the policies cannot see that politics and religion have a bearing on the laws which we are subject to. Therefore, if we discourage the political or even religious responses then we are considered by secularist, the sheep that just blindly follow what men above us want us to do. In my country we the people have a voice, we can have an impact on the laws which govern us. A friendly suggestion from one man to another. Consider this and the impact that we (site owners) have in this process. After all, we have communities which we govern and influence. It is easy for us to link to petitions ect that dictate or influence bills or laws. Our communities have thousands of members which can make our case to and encourage them to vote on said political policies. Do we take whatever comes our way passively or do we actively fight for what we believe is moral and right? To fight as an activist is to step onto the battle ground in the arena of politics and religion.

If people can't contain, restrain, or act appropriately on these subjects then that is a testimony about them. I appeal to you, don't penalize the rest of us that are educated on these subjects for the ignorant. The reason why people are ignorant is because they lack knowledge and experience on the topics and subjects at hand. Therefore, the knowledgeable and experienced are penalized because of the ignorant. While I am appealing to you, Mr Zappa, lemme suggest the staff familiarize themselves with what an Ad hominem attack is. When one commits such attack they should be penalized and not the civil person that is engaged in rational discourse.

Please do not receive my suggestions and appeal as anything other than a sincere request that I think benefits everyone despite the hardship of coming together over hot topics and expressing our views. It is the objective of rational discourse to move or compel each other to the truth and/or its nature.
 
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Nev_Dull

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What they were MORE afraid of was the proverbial ass whooping one would get if one misbehaved or being grounded for extended time along with the ass whooping. It's how laws keep control of people... it's not through talking with them - it's through making them afraid of the consequences, which could be spending an extended time in a penal facility where you whole life structure is controlled by others (which is what the parents should have been doing in their childhood to them).
I'm somewhat familiar with the Spock concept, and while I don't buy into most of it, I have never agreed with corporal punishment for kids. I accept that an "ass whooping" can be an effective punishment when kids cross the line. However, I've always preferred the idea of them understanding what they did and why it was unacceptable. In general, most kids find a simple spanking far less scary than being forced to engage in a discussion about their behaviour.

Fact is compared to boomers and Gen-X,
millennials have the lowest pregnancy rate of any generation tracked. The "conservative" 1950s had the highest.
Lowest teen abortion rates
Lower illiteracy rates
Believe it or not, lower debt than Gen-X and Boomers, and better credit scores.
More likely to hold businesses accountable when they act badly.
Commit less crime than Gen-X and Boomers did at the same ages.
Have lower rates of infidelity.
More likely to donate directly to causes then via a charity because they want more accountability.
Interesting stats, which could also be explained by them living in their parents basement and never interacting with anyone except through their phone. :)

I agree the current generation of young people isn't any worse than any other. I do think, though, the world they are growing up in is far more complex and uncertain than the one in which we were raised. And there seems to be a conspicuous absence of guides and direction for them to follow.
 
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