Save the Children survey: Children demand greater protection online

A global survey conducted by Save the Children and the Young & Resilient Research Centre shows that children are demanding better online protection and want tech companies and governments to do more to ensure their safety.

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A global survey conducted by the charity Save the Children, and the Young & Resilient Research Centre has revealed that children are calling for more protection online and are urging tech companies and governments to take more responsibility for their safety.

Nearly 600 children aged 9 to 16 from various countries participated in the survey. Researchers Found that children frequently interact with strangers online and are three times more likely to ignore or decline inappropriate requests than to report or block them. Children emphasised the importance of age restrictions and verification of users’ ages on websites. They also highlighted the role of governments in regulating tech companies and raising awareness about the risks of online interactions.

The study also found that children are more commonly subjected to bullying and harassment online by people they know rather than being victims of child sexual abuse material. Steve Miller, Save the Children’s Global Director of Child Protection, noted the need for collaboration between tech companies and governments, as there is currently a lack of consistency in implementing safety rules across the industry.

Why does it matter?

The research coincided with Safer Internet Day, which aims to promote a safer online experience for children. The study revealed that children primarily rely on their intuition and background checks when managing their online interactions with strangers, placing a significant burden on social media companies to prioritize their safety.

The new findings also come at a time of Congressional hearings of Big Tech CEOs on their efforts to protect children online.