New laws are needed to hold social media companies to account if they fail to protect young users, according to a report by MPs.
The report into the impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health says that regulation is the only way to address the risks that the web poses for children.
It comes a day after reports that Facebook paid children as young as 13 to install software on their phones which allowed the company to watch their every activity.
It also follows a demand that social media companies “purge” their platforms of content that promotes self-harm and suicide, made by the family of 14-year-old Molly Russell.
According to MPs on the science and technology committee of parliament, social media damages children’s sleep patterns and body image.
It also exposes children to bullying, grooming, and sexting, warned the committee.
“Although these risks existed before social media, its rise has helped to facilitate [them] – especially child abuse,” said the MPs, citing figures by the National Crime Agency.