SWGfL has partnered with Schillings, a leading crisis management firm specialising in reputation, privacy and security, on a new, easy-to-understand guide to the Online Safety Bill. Aimed at young people, their parents and teachers, this simplified guide seeks to demystify the lengthy and complex regulation that sets out to make the UK ‘the safest place to be online.’
The Online Safety Bill is a landmark piece of legislation which is set to change the landscape of online safety – especially for young people. The current draft version of the bill, at nearly 250 pages and over 10,000 words, is complex, and it is estimated that a postgraduate education is required to interpret the text. With this indication, most young people and adults would be unable to understand the Online Safety Bill in its current form.
The Guide to the Online Safety Bill was created by Schillings and SWGfL as a tool to help internet users understand what the Online Safety Bill is. It sets out the main points of the bill as they relate to both young people and adults; explains how the bill will be enforced; and how young people can stay safe online.
It is hoped that schools, parents and young people will make use of this new guide to help understand their rights online and the duty of care tech companies owe to users. It also encourages the practice of reporting material that they feel falls within the scope of ‘harmful content’.
On the project, David Wright, CEO of SWGfL and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, commented:
'‘The Online Safety Bill is one of the most essential documents to be released in recent years. An initiative this important should be accessible and not reserved towards any specific audience. We are delighted to have worked on this resource with Schillings in the hope it makes the Online Safety Bill more approachable and less intimidating. This Bill is a landmark change for the UK and any user who goes online should feel secure in their knowledge around what will be in place to protect them.’'
Schillings Partner Allan Dunlavy, who led on the Schillings side, said:
'‘Online service providers have repeatedly shown that they are unable or unwilling to self-regulate and, as such, we believe that regulation is the only way to ensure that they commit to making children a priority. While the Online Safety Bill marks a huge shift in the online safety landscape, especially with regard to where the duty of care lies, its complexity renders it impenetrable.
We are therefore proud to have partnered with SWGfL to demystify this complex piece of regulation. Helping young people, their parents, carers and guardians – and the general public – to better understand what the bill means and how it will work is vital to improving online safety for everyone.’'
 The Online Safety Bill has a readability rating of 20.1 on the Gunning Fox Index, a linguistics index which estimates the years of formal education a person needs to understand a text on the first reading. A rating of 12 equates to an 18 year old’s reading level, and a rating of 17 assumes a postgraduate education.