UK Safer Internet Centre Releases Manifesto Calling for Stronger Online Protections

UK Safer Internet Centre Releases Manifesto Calling for Stronger Online Protections

The UK Safer Internet Centre’s (UKSIC) mission is to make the internet a safer place where everyone can thrive online without the threat of harm. As a partner in the UKSIC, we are calling on the new government to join us in ensuring that stronger online protections are implemented to keep individuals safe online. By identifying and addressing key challenges as well as implementing a comprehensive strategy to combat these issues, we can significantly improve the online landscape going forward.

Read the UKSIC Manifesto

Key Areas of Address

To guide our efforts, the UK Safer Internet Centre has identified several key areas, relating to the work of all UKSIC partners:

  1. Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse: The rise in reports to the Revenge Porn Helpline, which saw a 106% increase in 2023, underscores the urgent need for robust measures to combat intimate image abuse. Since its launch in 2021, has helped over 300,000 adults protect their intimate images from being shared, creating a substantial impact. However, more needs to be done to eradicate this issue.
  2. Youth Voice and Education: The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme has shown promising results, with 94% of participants feeling more knowledgeable about online safety and a 75% reduction in online safeguarding incidents reported by teachers. Through ProjectEVOLVE, nearly half of the schools in England are now actively educating students about online safety, demonstrating the effectiveness of these initiatives.
  3. Harmful Online Content: The Report Harmful Content Helpline witnessed a 31% increase in cases in 2023, with an impressive 89% takedown rate for reported content. This highlights the ongoing need for vigilant monitoring and swift action against harmful content.
  4. Increased Awareness: Safer Internet Day 2024 reached 52% of UK children aged 8-17, with 32% of parents and carers also being aware of the event. Despite the enactment of the Online Safety Act in 2023, continuous efforts are needed to enhance online safety awareness among both children and adults.

UK Safer Internet Centre’s Five-Point Plan

To address these pressing issues, the UK Safer Internet Centre propose the following five-point plan (as taken from the UK Safer Internet Centre manifesto):

  1. Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Online and the Removal of Non-Consensual Intimate Images: We urge the government to classify non-consensual intimate image (NCII) content as illegal, in the same way as child sexual abuse material. Additionally, we advocate for the swift implementation of new legislation criminalizing synthetic sexual content or 'deepfake' imagery, ensuring better protections for women and girls.
  2. Sustaining the UK Safer Internet Centre: The sustainability of the UK Safer Internet Centre is crucial to ensure the ongoing protection of individuals online. We call for a stable and diversified funding model, improved operational efficiency, enhanced collaborations with online safety bodies, and robust public awareness campaigns to secure our future operations.
  3. Ensuring Youth-Centred Policy and Implementation: Youth participation is central to the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre. We urge the government to reinforce existing youth advisory structures and expand opportunities for youth involvement in digital policymaking, ensuring that the voices of young people are heard and acted upon.
  4. Ensuring the Effective Implementation and Delivery of the Online Safety Act: A coordinated approach is essential for the successful implementation of the Online Safety Act. This includes clear guidelines, strong enforcement mechanisms, continuous stakeholder engagement, and regular evaluation. We also advocate for penalties for non-compliance, transparent NGO forums, public awareness campaigns, educational programs, parental support, safety-by-design principles, and improved provisions for redress.
  5. Strengthening Online Safety Practice in Schools: Protecting and educating students is paramount. We urge the government to ensure the implementation of online safety standards in schools through effective quality assurance mechanisms. Schools must employ appropriate safeguard systems, including filtering and monitoring, to protect children online.

The UK Safer Internet Centre Vision

The  UK Safer Internet Centre envisions a digital world where everyone can thrive online. By implementing these crucial changes, the new government can significantly enhance the online experiences of all users, ensuring they are free from harm at school, at home, and on the go. Together, we can create a safer and more positive online environment for everyone.

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