9 in 10 children back new online safety laws

child on phone

A new survey has revealed that 9 out of 10 children agree that tech firms have a legal responsibility to keep them safe online1.

    • More than half of the 2,004 11-16 year old children surveyed had accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube and Snapchat.
    • Children thought social media platforms should protect them from sexual, self-harm, suicide and violent content online.

These figures come on the day that we handed in our Wild West Web petition to 10 Downing Street.

The petition has almost 46,000 signatures - showing the overwhelming public support for the Government to bring in an independent regulator to force tech firms to keep children safe on their platforms.

We're now calling on the next Prime Minister to ensure they act quickly to introduce legislation. We believe that criminal sanctions and corporate prosecution are vital for this to be effective.

Wild West Web petition hand in

Handing in Wild West Web petition at Downing StreetOn 1 July 2019 we handed in our #WildWestWeb petition to 10 Downing Street. 

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless and Associate Head of Child Safety Online Andy Burrows, were joined by Ruth Moss and Ian Russell whose children took their lives after viewing harmful content online.

Thank you to everyone who supported the campaign - almost 46,000 signed our petition calling for government to being in a statutory regulator.

Wild West Web: our campaign

We're calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright to stand up for children and introduce tough regulation for social networks. We want:

  • an independent regulator who can put in place mandatory child safety rules for social networks
  • safe accounts for children
  • detailed reporting on how social networks are keeping children safe.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said:

“In recent months we have seen the breadth of consensus for social networks to take responsibility for protecting children from abuse and harmful content on their platforms. The 46,000 signatures on our Wild West Web campaign alone demonstrates the strength of feeling out there.

“But this latest research could not be clearer; children themselves want to go online without the fear of seeing graphic and disturbing material and being vulnerable to abuse.

“It is imperative that the new Prime Minister treats this issue as an utmost priority and that the Government now works swiftly to builds on its bold and ambitious proposals and brings in legislation that will make the UK the safest place for children to be online.”


  1. The NSPCC commissioned ComRes to conduct the survey. ComRes interviewed 2,004 British children between 29th March and 10th April 2019.

    In another NSPCC survey, where ComRes interviewed 2,070 British adults, between 27 and 28 March 2019, 85% agreed that corporate prosecutions should be brought against social networks for significant breaches of duty of care and 80% agreed that named directors should be accountable for failures of children’s safety on their sites.