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Molly Russell and Olly Stephens’ parents condemns slow pace of the UK's Online Safety Bill

Molly Russell and Olly Stephens’ parents condemns slow pace of the UK's Online Safety Bill

Two families tied together by social media contributing to the deaths of their children have urged the UK government to act quicker bringing in regulation.

Molly Russell and Olly Stephens’ parents have expressed their discontent with the postponement of the Online Safety Bill, which has been touted as a measure to make it harder to share harmful content. The government has stated their intention to pass the law as soon as they can.

Molly was 14 when she died by suicide in 2017 after viewing images of self-harm and suicide on Instagram and Pinterest while Olly was 13 when he was stabbed to death by a group teenagers - who planned and prepped it on various social media platforms - who has posed with knives.

Molly’s father called the current approach of social media companies like "putting cars on the road without testing them on crash dummies first".

Ian Russell told BBC News: "The Online Safety Bill is something I care deeply about because without a change that regulates the companies to operate their platforms more safely, these tragedies will continue to happen," he said.

"It's too late for me so in a way it's not a huge personal investment - I'm just frustrated that an opportunity for change and an opportunity for greater safety for children has been delayed for so long."

Olly’s Mum believes the government - which has seen three prime ministers since July - needs to take the matter “seriously”.

Amanda Stephens said to the same outlet: "The clock's ticking. The time ran out years ago. Our children are dying."

A rep for the Department of Digital, Culture and Sport said: "Social media companies aren't doing enough to protect children and take down illegal content on their platforms.

"That's why we're stepping in with our world-leading Online Safety Bill to hold tech firms to account, with huge fines for those who fail to take action.

"The Secretary of State has committed to strengthen protections for free speech and children in the Online Safety Bill and bring the bill back to the Commons as soon as possible.

"It remains the government's intention to pass the bill this session."

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