Children’s rights group creates collection of ‘toys’ to raise awareness of dangers faced online

The ‘Twisted Toys’ campaign includes toys such as the ‘Share Bear’ that collects and shares a child’s data

Ellie Abraham
Wednesday 23 June 2021 13:24 BST

A children’s rights group has created a range of mock toys that highlight the abuse children face online.

Campaign group 5Rights launched Twisted Toys to highlight how abuse that happens online would not be tolerated offline.

The toys aren’t real, but were created for the campaign to show the dangers.

The toys include a “Share Bear” that collects and shares a child’s data and a “Pocket Troll” that scrutinises their activity and bombards them with horrible comments.

Also included is a “storybook” of terms and conditions that takes hours to read and a “Stalkie Talkie” that allows strangers to interact with children.

The aim of the campaign group is to raise awareness among parents of the dangers children face while online.

New research from 5Rights found that 80 per cent of parents do not trust tech companies to protect children online.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent think the government should be doing more around the issue of online safety.

Earlier this year, the government proposed the Online Safety Bill, which will introduce a new duty of care for social media platforms and put them under the scrutiny of Ofcom in its new role as an online regulator.

However, 5Rights believes the bill doesn’t go far enough. Chair Baroness Beeban Kidron said parents want more to be done.

She said: “Too often, people forget that digital products and services are consumer goods – and as such they need to be safe for those who use them – especially children.

“We don’t share personal information about children with random strangers, we don’t allow strangers to knock on the door and ask for a naked Polaroid, we don’t allow people to assess their emotional state to sell them something. But all of this takes place online every day.

“Simply put, we do not accept this in the real world, and we must not allow it in the digital world.”

Ms Kidron said the Twisted Toys campaign is to highlight the dangers of the online world, and to call for action to be taken.

She continued: “Twisted Toys shows just how dangerous and inappropriate data surveillance is; that terms and conditions are not fit for purpose; and that the tech sector is failing to offer even the most basic safety requirements. Parents want change.”

The campaign has been backed by a number of online campaigners, including Ian Russell, whose daughter Molly took her own life in 2017 after viewing harmful content online.

He said: “Twisted Toys sends a clear message and raises awareness about harms too easily found online, harms that can adversely affect our mental wellbeing.

“This 5Rights campaign will save lives, it stimulates reaction and clearly shows effective regulation is long overdue to stop the misery and anguish the tech platforms can cause.”

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