Former Norfolk schools chief calls for online age checks for children

Ruth Davies says teaching children to ignore online abuse is as important as telling them not to do drugs

Dame Rachel de Souza has met with social media companies over online checks for children. - Credit: PA

The former head of a Norfolk academy trust has called for compulsory age checks online to stop youngsters accessing pornography. 

Dame Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner for England, formerly head of the Inspiration Trust, which has 14 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk, has also said social media firms should push for “strong” age verification.

She has called for the reinstating of the proposed 2017 law on age verification for pornography websites and instructing Ofcom to produce a code of practice for the social media firms.

Children's commissioner Rachel de Souza.

Former Inspiration Trust CEO now Children's Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza. - Credit: Tom Barnes

“Surely, they don’t want children accessing this stuff online. They just need to bite the bullet on this one,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

Some companies have made changes in recent weeks as the UK begins enforcing a new online design code requiring the identification of children.

Instagram will require all users to enter their birthdate before using the app, while TikTok and Google have also made major changes in the past month to how they treat child users.

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