Today we launch our new report Vulnerable children in a digital world to highlight how children’s offline vulnerabilities can help us identify what types of risks they may face online so we can work across sectors to offer early intervention and specialist support to help them stay safe online.
Internet Matters has long suspected that online risks and harms are not evenly spread across the population. Evidence from the Cybersurvey suggests that young people with offline vulnerabilities do experience more online risk. This report does more than simply describe the problem – we go on to explain how, if we know what the offline vulnerability is, we can predict the category of risks they face and can, therefore, intervene to prevent risk becoming harm.
However, our capacity to intervene is determined by frontline service workers having the training, skills and resources to have a meaningful conversation about online life with the young people in their care. Our evidence suggests that the training, skills and resources are lacking – which is something we can and must address.
There are over 2 million vulnerable children in England and Wales – and we can and should do more to help them enjoy the benefits of the internet safely and securely. This report is our first step in that process and we look forward to working with experts to make a material difference.
More research and insight on supporting vulnerable children online: