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Online Safety
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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:

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.

Keep reading

There is more to read from CARE's perspective

Kids computer home

Q&A on the Online Safety Bill

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.

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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
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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

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.

12 May 2021 Luke stackpoole 711268 unsplash 5n

Draft Online Safety Bill published

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.

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9 June 2021 Morrow

Bill to close pornography loophole introduced in Parliament

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.

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1 September 2021 Dame R De Souza

England's Children's Commissioner back age controls on online porn

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.

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3 November 2021 Philipp katzenberger i I Jr Uoe Ro CQ unsplash

APPG launches official inquiry into pornography and violence against women and girls

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”.

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10 November 2021 XXX

Legal challenge against UK Govt for dropping age verification gets the go ahead

The High Court grants permission for a judicial review of the government’s controversial decision to drop Part 3 of the Digital Economy 2017.

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29 November 2021 Nadine Dorries MP

Ministers reconsidering age checks on online pornography

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.

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Resources

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

Briefing: Online Safety Bill

Brief­ing: Online Safety Bill

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.

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Protecting children online with Naked Truth's Ian Henderson

Pro­tect­ing chil­dren online with Naked Truth’s Ian Henderson

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
5 ways online porn harms your child

5 ways online porn harms your child

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.

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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

Recent online safety news

Opinion

Culture
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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…

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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.

Ask your MP to support age verification on all online pornography websites

Write to your MP

Discuss.

Explore CARE's work on online safety

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