Vulnerable Children in a digital world

Report: Highlighting online risks vulnerable children may face and the support they need

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What’s inside the report?

This report provides insight into the online world of the UK’s most vulnerable children highlights the potential online risks that different groups of vulnerable children may face online, such as pressure to be sexting, cyberbullying, cyber scams, or seeing content promoting self-harm, anorexia and suicide.

It also offers guidance on ways to support vulnerable children emphasising the introduction of specialised training and tools across all sectors to draw on the ability to identify the most likely online issues facing the highest risk children and trigger early intervention.

The study, in partnership with Youthworks and the University of Kingston, used a robust dataset of vulnerable young people’s online experiences to identify how they might be more likely to encounter certain online risks.

Carolyn Buntin, CEO, Internet Matters provides a brief insight into why the research was carried out:

“This report takes the conversation on – to challenge and inspire all of us; parents, teachers, frontline service workers, and corporate parents to ask better, more nuanced questions, of ourselves and the children and young people in our care.”

It is also supported by quotes from the Children’s Commissioner For England Anne Longfield, Javed Khan, Chief CEO, Barnardos and Roy McComb Deputy Director, Vulnerabilities Command National Crime Agency

An outline of the changing landscape of the online world with a focus on it’s impact (positive and negative) on vulnerable children’s digital lives. 

Find an outline of the methodology used and what research evidence prompted the work.  The study was based part of the Cybersurvey annual survey of young people’s views and online experiences run by Youthworks from 2008 -2018. Currently, 38,000 young people have participated. This research study explored responses from  2,988 of these young people aged 10 to 16.

A summary of research findings outlining what young people’s offline vulnerabilities tell us about the risks they are more likely to face online. By looking at each vulnerable group in turn the chapter explores what is known about these young people that might explain their online experiences of risk categories.

Provides insights and guidance for parents, educators, services, safeguarding, and industry on ways to support vulnerable people online. It also offers next steps on what is needed to ensure young people who are vulnerable offline are given relevant, proactive and nuanced education and support to help them stay safe online.

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More to explore

Find out how we are supporting parents on online safety issues

Download infographic of report findings

How can we support vulnerable children online?

Children’s Commissioner’s Report on Vulnerability

 Internet use research