An overview

One in three internet users is a child, and millions of children experience online violence and exploitation each year. The online world was not designed with their safety in mind.

Every second at least two images of children being sexually abused are shared online.

While the digital world is revolutionising human experience and benefiting us in ways unimaginable to previous generations, it also presents heightened risks of exploitation and abuse, especially for the most vulnerable.

Why we exist

Children in the 21st century are growing up in the digital world. However, the internet was not designed with children’s safety in mind. Safe Online exists to make sure that the internet is safe for children, so that every child can take advantage of all the opportunities the internet has to offer.

Our investments result in strong systems, data and research on online trends and threats, and the technology tools needed to tackle digital harms at scale. We ensure that the opportunities created by digital technology are open to everyone.

Kidsin classroom online

The threats and dangers children experience online can include harassment and violence, exposure to harmful content, and concerns around unethical use of digital data.

The most critical threat to children, however, is the alarming growth in online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), and creation and sharing of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), including images and videos. This threat has only been exacerbated with the rise of new technologies such as generative AI, which have the potential to create new avenues of exploitation.

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But what does that mean?

How are we shaping the future of the digital world and children all over the globe?

Investing in solutions

  • Strengthening systems: encouraging action through norms change, policies, advanced regulation and setting up key pieces of infrastructure at the national, regional and global levels.
  • Research and data: Generating large-scale and actionable research to inform the design of digital platforms and government services and keep abreast of emerging trends and threats. 
  • Technology tools: Designing technology tools that protect children online and prevent harmful behaviours and offending.

Generating evidence

The evidence and learnings from our investments bring unique and critical insights on the rapidly growing digital ecosystem. Our role as a trusted partner at the intersection of public, private and third-sector actors makes us uniquely positioned to seed and grow partnerships, create opportunities for generating evidence and share knowledge on what works and what doesn’t to tackle online harms to children.

Advocating for child online safety

At Safe Online, we are unwavering in our demand for the rights and safety of children in the digital world. We actively inform and engage with governments, the tech industry, regulators, and other actors to ensure that the safety of children is central to policy discussions and technological innovations. Through our advocacy, we refocus attention on foundational elements like design choices, infrastructure and platform norms to proactively push for safety, privacy and trust by design. 

Our advocacy has resulted in key successes including:  In 2021, G7 governments announced a set of groundbreaking commitments to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). In a historic move, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) adopted General Comment No. 25, marking the first instance of including the digital rights of children in its framework. Also, in 2020, the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation included a specific call-out on the need to tackle online CSEA for the first time.

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See some stories from our grantees

Story from our Grantee

Hear from our grantee: Age Check Certification Scheme Why Age Assurance is key to empowering children in the digital age

Hosted in collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI), this groundbreaking summit united over 700 global stakeholders to affirm a bold declaration: “Age Assurance Can Be Done!” With a focus on safeguarding children online, the summit produced a landmark Communique on Age Assurance, outlining principles like prioritising individual rights and data minimisation. Safe Online grantee, Age Assurance Certification Scheme, explains why age assurance is critical, the role of the first-ever Communique on Age Assurance and the way forward from this landmark Summit.

Story from our Grantee

A New Educational ‘game’ to Teach Children About Being #SafeOnline

May and Bay are exploring the vast online world – and learning to keep themselves safe from the threats to their safety. And by helping these two digital characters stay safe in the online world, children can now learn more about and gain the skills needed for navigating the risks in the digital world.

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Our purpose in detail

We are here to ensure every child and young person grows in to the digital world feeling safe, and is protected from harm.

We support, champion, and invest in innovative partners from the public, private, and third sectors working towards the same objective.

We believe in equipping guardians and young people with the skills to understand and see danger themselves once accessing digital experiences without supervision.

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