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Online Harms

Interim findings from an international review

A group of young people browse their phones whilst sitting on a wall. Overlaid is text that reads "Online Harms Research Hub".

Ongoing discussions surrounding the UK Government’s Online Harms Bill, the Age Appropriate Design Code produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and investigations conducted by the Children’s Commissioner of England and Wales and other organisations, have shone attention directly onto the existing processes of content regulation, age verification and industry responsibility.

Across Catch22’s services, the issue of online harms is exponentially increasing. Since COVID-19, children and young people have not just wanted to be online, they have relied on the online world for both social and educational purposes. Social media brings opportunities as well as risks, but Catch22’s frontline practitioners are acutely aware of young people being confined at home without the same supervision they would usually encounter.

In June 2020, the Catch22 Online Harms Consultation gathered insights from young social media users, tech platforms, youth services and experienced youth workers, on how violence and exploitation are occurring as a result of online behaviour, and whether services are, or are not, prepared in addressing and preventing online harms. 

This Consultation has been followed by an ongoing Catch22 Online Harms and Regulation research project led by Dr Faith Gordon at the Australian National University, reviewing young peoples’ experiences of online harms, how acceptable use policies differ between platforms, and the challenges for enforcement here and overseas for any future regulation.  

This webinar brought together expertise to consider: 

  • The experiences and concerns of children and young people for any future regulation of social media 
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the types of online harm and levels of victimisation, as well as the support currently available 
  • The Legislative proposals in the United Kingdom and learningfrom other jurisdictions who have implemented changes. 

Our panellists included:

  • Dame Vera Baird, Victims Commissioner
  • David Jordan Khanu, member of the Young People’s Advisory Panel for the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit
  • Dr Faith Gordon, Senior Lecturer at ANY College of Law
  • Lorna Woods OBE, Carnegie Trust