DCMS picks online hate speech, sexting, and social media in politics among key policy-research areas

Written by Sam Trendall on 17 May 2018 in News
News

Department picks out a range of issues as ‘areas of research interest’ for the coming years

The government has named the role of social media in politics, the effect of hate speech online, and the impact on young people of internet pornography as being among the digital and technology issues where it intends to focus policy research.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has, for the first time, released an “areas of research interest publication”. The document contains a wide range of questions and issues that DCMS intends to investigate with a view to how it can best address them via policymaking and delivery.

In the areas of internet and cyber safety, telecoms and connectivity, and next-generation technologies, the department’s key research areas include:

  • The harm caused by adults’ exposure to hate speech online
  • The impact of internet abuse and cyberbullying
  • Finding out more about the prevalence among young people of sexting and online sexual harassment, and the consequences of these activities
  • How pornography influences girls’ view of sex and relationships, and whether viewing violent pornography is having an effect on young people’s development and behaviour
  • The impact of social media on elections and the wider political climate
  • Whether government intervention in the cybersecurity sector is effective
  • What the UK government could learn about cybersecurity from peers in other countries
  • Whether better connectivity has an impact on digital inclusion, and on health and welfare outcomes more widely
  • The extent of people’s willingness to pay more for high-capacity connectivity
  • The distribution of productivity gains resulting from investments in telecoms infrastructure
  • When and how to explain how artificial-intelligence technologies make decisions
  • The UK’s standing in the digital and technology sectors when compared with other countries
  • Examining the case for government intervention in the technology industry
  • How to foster a broad digital skills base across multiple demographics

DCMS said: “To ensure our policies are as informed as possible, we work with a wide range of stakeholders to further our understanding of our sectors and generate a strong evidence base. This areas of research interest document has been created to provide a high-level, strategic view of the type of research we will need in the coming years to help develop and deliver those policies.”

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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