Culture secretary

Limit children’s time on social media, says Culture Secretary | social media

Mandatory limits could be placed on the time children are allowed to spend on social media, the culture secretary has suggested.

Matt Hancock says social media companies have failed in their duty of care to children.

“We’re going to ask them to take those precautions,” he told The Times. “For an adult, I wouldn’t want to limit the time you spend on a platform, but for different ages it might be a good idea to have different time limits.

“I think there’s a real concern about the amount of screen time young people are spending and the negative impact it could have on their lives.”

It was unclear how the rules would be enforced, but Hancock said a system could be similar to plans to enforce age verification for online pornography.

But Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: “Helping parents with their children is very important, but ministers will always struggle to sort out the details of people’s lives.

“Do we really want to teach children that the government watches them on social media and decides when they are not allowed to talk to their friends?

“Unfortunately, what is really happening is that people get around everything that is imposed, and ministers end up playing cat and mouse over unachievable goals. Digital policy needs to do better than that.