Research to understand children’s online vulnerabilities and effective safety education systems

What is it?

  • Online safety and preventative approaches.

Why is it important?

  • Understanding children’s online vulnerabilities to sexual exploitation and abuse is key to designing relevant, appropriate and targeted safety education material and systems.
  • Understanding vulnerabilities can also help inform more effective prevention and response programmes and initiatives.

How can it be implemented?

  • Research and analysis needs to consider who, how, where and why children are more or less vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation online, and if, when, where and how that changes over time. (See capability 22). Effective safety education systems need to be evidence-based and appropriate to the target audience. (See capability 20). Online safety education should be based on recognising, acknowledging, and understanding rights and responsibilities in the digital age. This should:
  • Focus on students in the context of their relationships with, and responsibilities to, others.
  • Uphold children’s rights to provision, participation and protection in digital environments.
  • Acknowledge the significant opportunities and safety challenges that students face in online environments.
  • Empower all students to participate meaningfully in the design, development, and implementation of their online safety education, where appropriate

Further resources: