The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published a research with young people into their views and experiences of online risks and sexual harm. The small-scale research included 213 young people aged 10-18, which means it is not representative of the perspectives of all young people. However, the results are similar to a previous and ongoing research done by the Principal Children and Families Social Worker (PCFSW) network.
The five main themes from the study implying social care practice are the following:
- Children and young people are exposed to online risks and sexual harm from a young age
- Spending time online
- Children value online opportunities and find negative and avoidance-based safety messages unhelpful
- Reporting concerns
- Education and discussions should ensure children to not believe responsibility for preventing online sexual harm lies with them
Young people spend a significant part of their time online, which has a great impact on their lives and development. Educating them about online risks and creating a safe environment for them is the way to ensure their safety, development and well-being. Taking it a step further, young people should be educated about dealing with such risks and experiences mentally as well.
Learn more from the report:
- about their research methodology,
- being online and youth knowledge about online sexual harm,
- provision of school-based education about online sexual harm,
- suggestion about improving school-based education,
- and ways to enhancing online safety.