This review looks at evidence that has been published since 2017 on the online risks and harms experienced by children in the UK. It spans the period (2017-2023) immediately before the implementation of the Online Safety Act 2023, providing an up-to-date picture of the evidence base and setting a baseline from which to assess any changes linked to the introduction of regulation in the online world.
The review focuses primarily on evidence concerning children’s exposure to online sexual risks, in line with the NSPCC’s priority work around child sexual abuse. It also reviews evidence on two other topics: children’s exposure to other online risks, including pornography, self-harm and violent content; and the role technology plays in increasing or decreasing these risks. The scope of the review includes UK and international studies involving children of all ages.
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