We need to ensure that the online world that children enter is as safe as possible. This means responsible corporate citizenship and more thoughtful regulation at government level, driven and challenged by charities campaigning on behalf of those they work with. This is why we’ve argued in our response to the Government’s Online Harms Consultation for a much greater role for civil society, through the creation of a What Works Network for measuring and evaluating the impact of online safety initiatives.
We believe that charities and funders are well placed to be a leading voice in these efforts. At present, most online safety funding is from tech companies. It is undoubtedly a good thing that tech companies recognise their responsibilities, but they cannot be expected to do everything or to ignore commercial pressures. Foundations and philanthropists need to step up to create a more diverse funding landscape.
The online world is only going to grow more prevalent in children’s lives, so we all need to work together to build safer online environments, foster supportive communities, and equip children with the resilience to thrive as discerning and constructive online citizens.