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.
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:
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.
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.
There is more to read from CARE's perspective
Join us in supporting age-verification checks on pornographic websites.Take action now
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
Arpanet was the first real network to run on switching technology which was new at the time
During the 2015 general election, the Conservative Party promised to introduce mandatory age-verification on pornographic websites
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.
The Women and Equalities Committee Report on sexual harassment towards girls and women recommends that pornography be treated as a public health issue
Finally, after repeated delays in December 2018, MPs and Peers approved regulations needed to introduce age verification for porn sites.
The NSPCC published proposals showing how the Government could legislate to require social media companies to safeguard children.
The White Paper adopted many of the NSPCC's recommendations.
The Government announces age-checks are being delayed. CARE works with other organisations and MPs to put pressure on the Government to hurry up.
CARE worked with a number of Peers to raise concerns about gaps in the Government's proposed approach
The Government forgot to notify the European Commission, thereby undermining the legal basis of age verification
In October, the Government suddenly said it was dropping age verification plans and promised to 'come up with something better'
CARE's CEO Nola Leach signs a letter in The Times calling on the Government to think again
Baroness Howe's Bill, which would set an implementation date for the age verification scheme, has its First Reading in the House of Lords.
Here are a range of resources to help you dig deeper on the issue of online safety.
In this special CARE Session, co-founder Lyndon Bowring and Ian Henderson from Naked Truth Ministries talk about the importance of protecting young people online and how we can all play a part.Watch
Our children are growing up as digital natives, exposed to online porn far too easily. There's more and more evidence suggesting specific ways online porn harms young people. Discover 5 examples of this.Read more
Explore these resources from the Family Online Safety Institutefind out more
by the BBFC
Explore this guide for parents: how will age-verification protect children online?explore
The Government have been questioned about their failure to clamp down on violent pornography websites in the UK, after it emerged that Wayne Couzens, who raped and murdered Sarah Everard, was obsessed with violent, extreme porn.Read article
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Ask your MP to support age verification on all online pornography websites
Explore CARE's work on online safety