Online Harms

In 2017, the then UK Government made a commitment that the UK would be the safest place in the world to be online. Following a series of consultations on the responsibilities of companies to their users, and the steps that companies should take to prevent online harms, the Government produced its Online Harms White Paper, which set out plans to impose a ‘duty of care’ on online platforms.

5Rights Foundation has engaged at every stage of the Government’s Online Harms work, advocating for the principle that the protections, privileges, and rights that children and young people receive offline be upheld in the digital environment. In 2019, we published our report Towards a Safer Internet Strategy, which set out a seven-pillar framework for the promotion of children’s welfare in relation to digital technology.

This included a proposal for online platforms to be held accountable for enforcing and upholding their terms and conditions, privacy policies, and community guidelines – a proposal that was subsequently included in both the Government’s Online Harms White Paper and the Information Commissioner’s draft Age Appropriate Design Code. 

We continue to advocate for a holistic approach to digital regulation, focusing not just on tackling a narrow set of ‘headline’ harms, but on addressing more ‘everyday’ harms and supporting children’s broader development and welfare.