Call for social media giants to pay tech tax

Tech tax web revised

The Making Young Minds Matter report has asked for action to help address mental health issues experienced by youngsters

22nd August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity wants social media giants to pay a tech tax to mitigate the negative impact of their sites on children.

The Making Young Minds Matter report has said that social media can affect the wellbeing of young people and the companies behind sites such as Twitter and Facebook should recognise this.

The research, carried out by ResPublica in partnership with Barnardo’s, said that firms cannot be the scapegoat for mental health difficulties experienced by youngsters, but should team up with the authorities to help provide support.

Report author Duncan Sim said: “Social media platforms should not be made scapegoats for the increasingly well-documented mental health difficulties faced by young people – indeed, as the report recognises, they can be a crucial source of advice and support for young people in distress.

“However, in light of growing evidence of the negative effects of social media on young people’s wellbeing, we believe it is incumbent upon these companies to express their social responsibility by working with government on this vitally important issue.”

If working together does not prove a success, the think tank said that the government should consider imposing a levy on firms. ResPublica said 1% of of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn’s turnover would have amount to £3.5 million in 2015.

Other recommendations put forward include devolution deals to allow local authorities to undertake reform at a local level, that an innovation fund should be established to enage young people and that levels of funding for councils should be reviewed.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “ I sincerely welcome this policy paper from ResPublica, which astutely and incisively draws attention to the crucial role of support services for young people, and the organisations like Barnardo’s which deliver them, in building a country which can offer all our children a real prospect of happiness, health, and prosperity.”