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
The UK Government's draft Online Safety Bill is a hugely complex and controversial piece of legislation. This Q&A unpacks what's in the Bill, what some of the concerns are and the process to it becoming law.Read more
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.
Peers debate the Digital Economy Bill and CARE supports Peers in championing age checks on online porn.Read more
Part 3 of the Bill includes age verification controls on commercial pornographic websites and new powers for an independent regulator to tackle the most violent forms of pornography.Read more
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.
The UK Government introduces its new draft, Online Safety Bill. The Bill aims to establish a new regulatory framework to tackle harmful content online. But critics are concerned the Bill will be 'catastrophic' for free speech. CARE also raises concerns about gaps in the protection the Bill offers from online pornography.Read more
With CARE's support, Lord Morrow introduces a private members bill in the House of Lords which would implement part 3 of the Digital Economy Act to ensure age verification on all, commercial pornographic websites.Read more
England’s Children’s Commissioner backs legislation to compel pornography websites to verify the age of users, two years after UK Ministers abandoned plans to introduce the age checks. Dame Rachel de Souza calls for “stronger protections” for children, including on social media platforms that allow young children to view age-inappropriate content.Read more
An official inquiry into the links between pornography and sexual violence is launched. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation announced an official investigation into the pornography industry in response to “growing concerns that online pornography is fuelling violence against women and girls”.Read more
The High Court grants permission for a judicial review of the government’s controversial decision to drop Part 3 of the Digital Economy 2017.Read more
The Sunday Times reports that Ministers are actively reconsidering introducing age checks to online pornographic websites. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is says to be supportive of the move.Read more
A Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament publishes its report on the draft Online Safety Bill. It says the Bill needs to go further and CARE welcomes many of its recommendations.Read more
Another Committee warns that the draft Online Safety Bill won't address the most awful online content.Read more
Lord Morrow's private members' bill would implement age checks on commercial porn sites and CARE calls on the Govt to back it.Read more
After years of campaigning, on Safer Internet Day 2022, the UK Government U-turns again and says the Online Safety Bill will be strengthened to include age checks on all pornographic websites. Ofcom will have new powers to enforce the laws. CARE welcomes the move as 'long overdue'.Read more
After months of delays, the UK Government finally publishes its Online Safety Bill. CARE gives it a cautious welcome.Discover more
Here are a range of resources to help you dig deeper on the issue of online safety.
The Association of Age Verification Providers have a range of helpful articles and publications which will help you understand how age checks can work in practice.Find out more
Everything you need to know about the Online Safety Bill
The draft Online Safety Bill is expected to come before Westminster Parliament in 2022. It is without a doubt a hugely complex and controversial piece of legislation. This briefing summaries key details about the Bill, from its aims, to concerns, to the process before it becomes law.Read more
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
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Ask your MP to support age verification on all online pornography websites
Explore CARE's work on online safety