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The Big Ambition for Online Safety  

29 April 2024

As Children’s Commissioner, I have spoken to thousands of children about the impact of the online world on their lives and wellbeing, and how much time they spend online. It was clear in The Big Ambition that children do not see a difference between their online world and offline world. Children want to engage with […]

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Children’s views on online safety in ‘The Big Ask’

23 November 2022

Last year, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, launched ‘The Big Ask’, the largest ever survey of children which received over 550,000 responses from children. The survey prompted a national conversation with children across England, asking children about which aspects of their life they were happy with, what they thought was important […]

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The Children’s Commissioner’s priorities for online safety

21 November 2022

This week the Children’s Office is recognising the importance of online safety for children and young people. In the first of a series of blogs, the Children’s Commissioner discusses why online safety is a major concern for her, and her work in her time as Commissioner to guarantee a safer digital world for all young […]

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The Children’s Commissioner gives evidence to the Online Safety Bill Committee

24 May 2022

This morning I am appearing before the Public Committee on the Online Safety Bill. Ahead of my evidence to the Committee, I want to outline my concerns and aspirations for this pioneering piece of legislation. Today’s children are born into a digital world which they did not create, and over which they have little control. […]

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Briefing to MPs on the Online Safety Bill

13 April 2022

Briefing to MPs on the Online Safety Bill Next week is the Second Reading of the Online Safety Bill. As Children’s Commissioner, I have convened the 15 leading children’s rights organisations and internet safety experts in the UK to tell you about our thoughts on it. I am writing to all MPs with views on […]

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Online Safety Commission from Government: Our recommendations for making the online world safer for children

16 March 2022

This report shares our findings and recommendations for making the online world safer for children, and bringing children’s voices to the heart of the debate around the Online Safety Bill.

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Access denied: How end-to-end encryption threatens children’s safety online

8 December 2020

This briefing aims to understand which apps and sites children and teens are using to communicate, and to find out more about what they are sharing on these platforms. In March 2020 we polled 2,003 children aged 8-17 on their use of messaging platforms, in an effort to understand the risks that these services may […]

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Social apps on phone

The Big Ambition for Online roundtable: reflections from youth Ambassadors 

27 February 2024

As part of The Big Ambition, I co-hosted the latest roundtable with some of my recently appointed Ambassadors focusing on online safety. The roundtable brought together representatives from Google, Meta, TikTok, Ukie – the UK video games trade body – and X to discuss the theme: “What more could platforms do to keep children safe […]

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Children’s Commissioner’s response to Ofcom’s ‘Protecting people from illegal harms online’

26 February 2024

This is a written response by the Children’s Commissioner to Ofcom’s consultation, Protecting people from illegal harms online, on the draft codes of practice relating to illegal content under the Online Safety Act 2023. The Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza, has a statutory independent role to protect and promote the rights of children in […]

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Online Communities: Annual roundup

12 December 2022

2022 has been a monumental year for children’s safety online. The Government’s landmark Online Safety Bill was re-drafted following Committee scrutiny; the Bill has recently returned to the House to complete its final stages in the Commons and the Lords. This year, the Children’s Commissioner has tirelessly championed young voices on online safety to Ministers, […]

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Mental Health and the Online World: what do children say?

9 November 2022

In The Big Ask,  The majority of children aged 9—17 (80%) were happy or okay with their mental health. But 20% were unhappy, making it the top issue for children today. Children also spoke about how social media interacted with their mental health. This is why two of my biggest priorities as Children’s Commissioner are […]

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Digital communities: The Children’s Commissioner’s survey of children and parents on the online world

9 August 2022

Children spend half their free time online. The digital world is where they access news and information, where they play games, develop a sense of their own identity, and where they keep in touch with friends and family. As one young person told me: “Social media has helped me more than my own family. I […]

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Archived Content

Children’s Commissioner responds to the ICO’s consultation on online safety

15 April 2019

Anne Longfield, responding to the ICO’s consultation on online safety, said: “The internet is an extraordinary thing but it was not built with children in mind. I want children to have the information, resilience and power they need to engage positively in the online world, rather than falling foul to companies and platforms which do […]

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Social apps on phone

Children’s experiences of online harm and what they want to do about it

27 August 2019

In April this year the Government set out their plans for a world-first: a system of regulations that they argue will make the UK ‘the safest place in the world to be online’. The Online Harms White Paper, produced in collaboration between the Home Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), maps out […]

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Children playing video games

A response to our letter to DExEU on the consequences for children’s safety of a No Deal Brexit

19 March 2019

The following is a response to our letter to the Department for Exiting the European Union, written with the other UK Children’s Commissioners, on the consequences for children’s safety of a No Deal Brexit. It highlights how a No Deal scenario would disrupt some of the mechanisms in place to protect children. *** Dear Anne, […]

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Union flag and EU flag

Online platforms must do more to tackle social media content which is harmful to children

30 January 2019

The following letter, written by Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, has been sent to several of the leading social media organisations, including Facebook, which includes Instagram and WhatsApp, Snapchat, Youtube and Pinterest. The tragic suicide of Molly Russell and her father’s appalled response to the material she was viewing on social media before her […]

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Child using tablet

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, responds to Government’s Green Paper on internet safety

11 October 2017

I welcome many of the measures proposed in the Green Paper and I am pleased that some of the proposals we have made have been taken up by the Government.

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Growing Up Digital one year on

6 February 2018

The internet and social media are a permanent part of modern childhood and for most children they offer huge opportunities to learn and connect. Today’s ‘Safer Internet Day’ brings schools, parents, teachers and industry together to make sure children have the power, information and resilience they need to make safe and informed choices online. The […]

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Child using tablet

Children unprepared for social media ‘cliff edge’ as they start secondary school, Children’s Commissioner for England warns in new report

4 January 2018

New report on effects of social media on 8-to-12-year-olds shows the way children use social media and its effects on their wellbeing hits a ‘cliff edge’ when they start secondary school. ‘Life in Likes’ fills a gap in research showing how younger children use platforms which the social media companies say are not designed for […]

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Gaming the system

22 October 2019

The overwhelming majority of children (93 percent) in the UK play video games. Yet despite its popularity, the culture of ‘gaming’- its rules and its rituals, the varying profiles of players, the risks they face – tends to be spoken of by adults, whether they be policymakers or parents, as if it were an alien […]

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Children playing video games

The first step in redressing the balance of power between children and the tech giants

28 May 2019

This year marks two important anniversaries: it is thirty years since the creation of the World Wide Web, and of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The digital world and children’s rights should not be in opposition – indeed, the internet can be an extraordinary force for good in children’s lives. But […]

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Child using tablet

Who knows what about me?

8 November 2018

Data can deliver an incredible range of benefits to individuals and society, but we do not know everything about how children’s data might be used – not just now, but also in the future, as children become adults.

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