CHILDLINE ADVICE: Safety Bill is the best chance to stop online child abuse

In the last few days, Liz Truss, the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party, has spoken to Parliament about the importance of online safety for under-18s and said that as Prime Minister she wanted to make sure people’s safety was protected online.

"Our counsellors have spoken to too many young people who have experienced abuse, grooming and exploitation online, and know it can leave them feeling scared, ashamed and even suicidal."
"Our counsellors have spoken to too many young people who have experienced abuse, grooming and exploitation online, and know it can leave them feeling scared, ashamed and even suicidal."

As Childline counsellors, we know just how devastating online abuse and grooming can be for young people, as we speak to children in the North East and across the country every day about their experiences when they’re online.

In our region alone, we know that online grooming crimes increased by 44% in the last four years, with an average of one report each day last year.

So it’s even more important than ever that action is taken in order to make the online world safer for children and young people.

For the last four years, the NSPCC has been campaigning for robust legislation to put an end to children coming to harm online.

And the Online Safety Bill is the best chance this country has to stop children being abused online.

The Bill essentially ensures websites, apps and games are designed with child safety in mind.

As a result, this means that the onus will be on tech firms to protect children from abuse, grooming and exploitation on their sites.

This means they must take steps to help stop abusers from contacting children, make it easier for people to report abuse, and deal with it faster.

Our counsellors have spoken to too many young people who have experienced abuse, grooming and exploitation online, and know it can leave them feeling scared, ashamed and even suicidal.

You can sign a new petition from our colleagues in the NSPCC to call on the Prime Minister to prioritise the Online Safety Bill.

Parents can also help keep their children safe online by frequently talking with them about how they spend their time online, which apps and games they use, who they talk to and what they share online.

If a child knows that they can speak to you about whatever’s worrying them, they’ll be more likely to ask for help sooner.

But if they’re uncomfortable speaking to a parent, Childline is always here for them.