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Young People Call for Privacy and Improved Moderation Online

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Catch22’s national survey finds young people and frontline staff demand better protection

More than 70% of young people have seen content online that they’ve found concerning, referring to specific violent and explicit content, according to Catch22’s National Online Harms Consultation results released today.  

Young respondents have called for quicker responses to addressing harmful content, blocking fake accounts, and restricting use for harmful users.

The survey, conducted between June and July 2020, gathered insights from 75 frontline youth and support workers and teachers, 22 young people Catch22 works with, and service managers and commissioners nationwide, as well as researchers and tech giants such as Facebook and BT. 

Hardyal Dhindsa, Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, welcomed the findings saying that everything possible should be done to protect and support vulnerable young people.

“Feedback from service users and their contemporaries is an invaluable component to improvement and to me, because this service is aimed at young, vulnerable and traumatised people, it’s even more important that we seek their views, listen to those views and act accordingly. There is no point in asking questions if you are not prepared to react in line with the responses!

“I would like to thank all those who responded to the Catch22 survey. It will help us improve the way services are delivered in the future and that is something we constantly try to achieve.”

Marc Stevens, Service Manager for Derby & Derbyshire CARES (Children at Risk of Exploitation Services) says:

“We have seen a huge spike in our service for online abuse and exploitation during the COVID lockdown.  This consultation backs up what we already know, suspected and see through the support my team provides.  Although lockdown seems to have exacerbated this crime, child exploitation and online abuse continues to be an issue on a daily basis.  Hopefully this great piece of work will highlight the issues and support needed to help tackle the problem.’

Key findings showed that:

  • 32% of young people have seen harm occur offline because of something which happened online.

  • Only 40% report online harms to the platform they are using. 

  • Only 27% feel safe online all the time. 

  • 73% have seen content online that they’ve found concerning, referring to specific violent and explicit content.

With online harms legislation still being delayed, Catch22 is highlighting the urgent need to recognise what young people want to see to make for a safer online world.

Catch22 CEO Chris Wright said the results reflect what those working directly with vulnerable youth are seeing every single day. 

“In our schools and community services, across victim support and child exploitation work, we are seeing more and more young people relying on the internet and the platforms that go with it and reporting disturbing behaviour online.

“There is still a huge lack of knowledge in this space and at a time when we need the huge benefits of an online world – connectivity, a sense of community, and access to education - we must do what we can to stay one step ahead of the risks and keep young people safe.”

Catch22 will be using the insights from this early-stage consultation to conduct further research, influencing the development of future programmes and existing services. 

In the consultation, service commissioners and frontline staff, including teachers and youth workers, also called for more education, both for themselves and parents and guardians. 

The full results of the consultation can be viewed here and you can find out more about the work Catch22 is doing to tackle online harms here.



To find out more or to request interviews, please contact media@catch-22.org.uk  or call 07506 370794.


About Catch22

Catch22 is a social business, a not for profit business with a social mission. For over 200 years we have designed and delivered public services that build resilience and aspiration in people of all ages and within communities across the UK.

We work with young people and families in trouble, delivering intervention and response services across child sexual and criminal exploitation, gang involvement, mental health support, family and social care services. Last year, our 1700 staff supported over 110,000 people to lead better lives.




Posted on Wednesday 12th August 2020
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