Schillings partners with The Children’s Commissioner to protect children from online harms

06 February 2019

Schillings is delighted to partner with The Children's Commissioner on a new Model Law setting out a Duty of Care to be imposed on online service providers in regards to their interactions with children. Today, the Children’s Commissioner published the 'powerful yet simple proposal' for what the Government’s new legislation should be: a statutory Duty of Care.

Protecting and enhancing the welfare, health, development and education of Children should be a priority for everyone, including online service providers. Proper regulation is the best way to ensure that online service providers commit to making children’s interests their priority. The Children’s Commissioners Model Law sets out a practical way to ensure that children are protected, without removing the benefits of access to social and other online media. In today’s announcement, the Children’s Commissioner stated that ‘we need to keep the good while doing all we can to protect children from the bad. We can only do that if the internet giants, who play such a massive part in the lives of our kids, are made to accept that with power also comes responsibility’.

The Model Law will impose a duty of care on providers of online services, requiring them to take all reasonable and proportionate care to protect children from any reasonably foreseeable harm. Given the changing nature of the digital landscape, the proposed regulator will provide guidance on the concepts of harm, and what might be reasonably foreseeable, but both concepts will be developed and interpreted by the courts. This will enable the duty of care to adapt to the unique circumstances of each case, and stand the test of time.

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