CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

Online Safety
Cause menu Close menu

We live in an increasingly digital age. There is no doubt that technology is extraordinary. It brings incredible opportunities but also daunting challenges, especially for children and young people for whom access to harmful online content is only a click or a swipe away.

CARE is committed to protecting the innocence of childhood and we are working towards a society where our young people are as well protected online as they are offline.

Topic primer

We are all more and more reliant on the internet to function in life. From keeping up with people on social media, to consuming the latest content from platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime or BBC iPlayer, our lives are dominated by technology. Alongside the brilliant advantages this brings, there are big concerns about the dangers of online harms. Questions like 'Are children safe enough online?' or 'Could we and should we be doing more to protect them online?' are ever present.

At CARE, we have two specific online dangers in mind:

  1. First, accessing inappropriate material. In some cases, children will deliberately seek out pornographic content. This is specially an issue for boys. In other cases, children will accidentally stumble across adult content that they might find interesting or distressing, but which in either case is not good for them.
  2. Second, online behavioural challenges which include cyber bullying, sexting and grooming.

It’s striking that when He was on earth, Jesus demonstrated a special heart for children (Matthew 19:14), even saying the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. At CARE, we are determined to improve online safety for our young people to make sure they are as adequately protected online as they are offline.

This matters because we understand better than ever before how easily and quickly children are accessing explicit adult content online. For example, a recent survey for the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) revealed that more than half of children had encountered pornography by the age of 11-13 years old.

One of the biggest myths is that what children look at online will not ever do them any real harm. The truth is that pornography not only corrupts the individual viewing it, but it also distorts reality and reduces God’s image bearers to mere objects.

Keep reading

There is more to read from CARE's perspective

Pan xiaozhen bo L69 W0 Um UM unsplash

CARE is working hard to ensure children are protected online.

Find out more about our work on online safety and what we are calling on the Government to do.

Read about CARE's work on online safety
Baroness Howe of Idlicote
If we really care about chil­dren then we must not shy away from using the law to pro­tect them online, as we do very prop­erly offline.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote Crossbench Peer
Child sitting outside with a phone

Concerned for your child's safety online?

Join us in supporting age-verification checks on pornographic websites.

Take action now

Cause history

October 1969 Shutterstock 298237376

Arpanet is created

Arpanet was the first real network to run on switching technology which was new at the time

2015 Shutterstock 95385913

Conservative manifesto promises age-verification

During the 2015 general election, the Conservative Party promised to introduce mandatory age-verification on pornographic websites

2016 Image Vault Handler aspx

Digital Economy Bill is introduced

Part 3 of this Act made provision for statutory age-verification. CARE worked successfully with a coalition of MPs to amend the Bill so its provisions could be enforced.

October 2018 Shutterstock 1147333691

WEC Committee publish report on sexual harassment

The Women and Equalities Committee Report on sexual harassment towards girls and women recommends that pornography be treated as a public health issue

December 2018 Shutterstock 773313970

Regulations approved to introduce age-checks on porn sites

Finally, after repeated delays in December 2018, MPs and Peers approved regulations needed to introduce age verification for porn sites.

February 2019 NSPCC1 20140926123859515

NSPCC publish proposals for safer internet

The NSPCC published proposals showing how the Government could legislate to require social media companies to safeguard children.

April 2019 Shutterstock 295136693

The Government publishes their Online Harms White Paper

The White Paper adopted many of the NSPCC's recommendations.

April 2019 Dannnn

Age verification delayed

The Government announces age-checks are being delayed. CARE works with other organisations and MPs to put pressure on the Government to hurry up.

May 2019 House of lords 2214805b

Peers debate Online Harms White Paper

CARE worked with a number of Peers to raise concerns about gaps in the Government's proposed approach

July 2019 Shutterstock 331269449

Further delay to age checks

The Government forgot to notify the European Commission, thereby undermining the legal basis of age verification

October 2019 New parliament 2010

Age verification is abandoned

In October, the Government suddenly said it was dropping age verification plans and promised to 'come up with something better'

October 2019 Nol

CARE speaks out over age verfication

CARE's CEO Nola Leach signs a letter in The Times calling on the Government to think again

January 2020 Official portrait of Baroness Howe of Idlicote crop 2

Baroness Howe introduces new Online Safety Bill

Baroness Howe's Bill, which would set an implementation date for the age verification scheme, has its First Reading in the House of Lords.

Resources

Here are a range of resources to help you dig deeper on the issue of online safety.

Good Digital Parenting

Good Digit­al Parenting

Explore these resources from the Family Online Safety Institute

find out more
UK Age-verification law explained

UK Age-veri­fic­a­tion law explained

by the BBFC

Explore this guide for parents: how will age-verification protect children online?

explore

News and updates

Online Safety 28p429 Resources 0 4

Ofcom set to be given powers to enforce duty of care on social media

The Government has published its initial response to the public consultation on its Online Harms White Paper and have revealed that they are ‘minded to appoint Ofcom as the new regulator’.

Keep reading
Child on laptop mouse pink 0

New Bill aims to make sure age checks for pornography are implemented

Yesterday in the House of Lords, Baroness Howe’s Digital Economy Act 2017 (Commencement of Part 3) Bill received its First Reading.

Keep reading
Alejandro escamilla LN Ry Gw I Jr5c unsplash

Tech Companies launch legal action over failure to introduce online porn ban

The Government is facing a legal challenge from four age verification companies over its failure to implement age-checks on pornographic websites.

Keep reading

Culture
& society reflecting a better story for everyone.

At the heart of all of CARE’s work is our determination to uphold the truth that human beings made in God’s image are immensely valuable and deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.

We want to show a better story for our culture and society, and we want to be part of shaping that in structures that we are given as citizens in the UK…

Find out more about the better story

Donate to CARE

Your donation to CARE enables us to continue to work towards a culture and society reflecting a better story for everyone.

We only ask you to consider giving to CARE after you have considered the needs of your family and church.

Donations are secure and processed by our third party provider Donorfy.

Take action

You can make a difference today.

Together we can make a difference shaping our culture and society. Here are three things you can do right now…

Pray..

We believe God hears and answers prayer. Join us in praying about online safety.

Pray with us

Write to your MP.

Let your MP know you want children to be protected online

Contact your MP

Discuss.

Explore CARE's work on online safety

Learn more