Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk is calling for social media platforms to take responsibility for their users’ mental health.
In an interview with UoGlos Live, he has said he will be working with social media sites in an attempt to tackle the growing mental health problem online.
“Probably the most significant problem at the moment is this business about adolescent mental health, and the role of social media,” says Mr. Chalk, “We’ve got a situation at the moment where social media platforms are making a bunch of money – not often paying their tax, by the way – and not taking responsibility for, what seems to be and increasing correlation between usage of social media and adolescent mental health.”
Mr. Chalk has promised to try and make the necessary changes to try and get youngsters the help they need. We asked what steps he had taken to get the ball rolling on this campaign.
“I’ve had an inquiry in parliament. We’ve had people from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, all these people, asked them some really tough questions and we’re producing a report. So I’m in the process of writing that report at the moment and I want it to be a useful contribution to this debate.
“I’m really determined that we should be doing something about it.”
With teenage depression and anxiety seeming more prevalent now than previous years, some kind of action needs to be taken. We ran a Twitter poll asking if twitter users thought that social media bosses needed to take more responsibility for the mental well-being of their users. An overwhelming majority agreed that they should be taking more.
Alex Chalk MP is also worried that not enough is being done to stop cyber attacks on not only the vulnerable, but any social media users.
“I’m not suggesting for a second that you can ever have a perfect situation online, but it can be an awful lot better than it is at the moment, and i’m determined to play a part in recalibrating our society.”
Chalk also said that at the moment, it’s the victim’s job to report the bully, but that nothing ever happens to the bully, and he says “that’s wrong.”
He’s proposing a yellow card system, in which those who are reported and found to be causing harm to another user are given a ‘yellow card’, just like in football. If they do it again, they’re ‘red carded’ and kicked off the site with their email blocked from using it again. Chalk says that twitter are reluctant to do this as “it doesn’t fit their economic model”, but cyber bullying victim, Amanda Dawkins, thinks this system would be a fantastic step.
“I was bullied pretty badly in my second year of college, and I had to just deal with it. No matter how many times I reported them, they just kept coming back after a short ban. And it made me so low mentally that I just didn’t see the point anymore in trying to stop them.
“It carried on for nearly a year and a yellow card system would have worded so well for me.”
Alex Chalk is continuing talks with social media bosses in an attempt to create a happier, safer platform.