2023: A year of waiting for government

December 11, 2023

Barbara Biggins OAM CF, is CMA’s Honorary CEO.

2023: A year of waiting for government

Big Tech has continued to exploit our children this year with little effective action from the government. We have had to wait too long to stop this exploitation. Big Tech has been free to utilise persuasive design techniques to keep children glued to screens, while gathering and storing their personal details, preferences and likes, and making these available to commercial interests.

And on “old media”, children continue to be exposed to sports betting commercials which have been found to increase the risks of gambling. What’s more, classification information seems to be missing in action, and is still not evidence-based.

Parents, nevertheless, are expected to be able to combat these tactics. With what tools?

Slowly during the year, the outcomes from Parliamentary and government department inquiries into online privacy, online gambling, the National Classification Scheme, have been released, with the only formal Government response being to the Privacy Inquiry.  Responses to the recommendations from these inquiries have been slow, and subsequent action not yet remedying the critical issues.

It has been heartening to see action taken by the e-Safety Commissioner on rejecting some industry-developed codes, and the ACCC’s prosecution of Meta. And it is acknowledged that dealing with the everchanging media environment is challenging for government, with many competing interests and voices – but the need to protect children is vital, universally accepted and urgent.

Through all these developments, CMA has continued in its active advocacy and provision of supports to parents.

CMA has continued to write submissions on all the above issues and more, consulting with like-minded groups and with government, and making complaints when we have identified breaches of regulations.

We’ve provided vital help to parents in finding happy, healthy movies and games through our unique child-development-based review services, now 21 years old. These are free and funded mainly by tax-deductible public donations.

In addition to these services we’ll soon start adding even more value, with a new weekly compilation of recent movie reviews, Know Before You Go Weekly. You can sign up for it here.

And we’ve negotiated with Flicks movie finding service (Australia, NZ and the UK) to carry our green tick of approval signalling our recommended age of independent viewing by children. CMA’s link sits alongside Rotten Tomatoes.

Our campaign to get commercial networks to more consistently and prominently display classification symbols on trailers for upcoming movies has just begun.   Classification symbols are intended as important information for parents in choosing for their children. The display of these symbols should not be minimised (or omitted) in the way it is being in recent years.

All CMA’s services depend on public support. Your Christmas gift will be much appreciated.

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