New partnership as young people contact Childline about AI related sexual abuse, bullying and misinformation

We have joined forces with Common Sense Media to help keep children safe online and understand the impact of generative AI on children.

  • The new partnership is going to be announced on the Bett UK main stage today at the ExCel Centre in London, and at next week’s The Common Sense Summit on Kids and Families in San Francisco.
  • The alliance comes as children reach out to Childline for support on AI risks such as sexual abuse and bullying, and builds on Common Sense Media’s new AI ratings system.

We are partnering with the leading children’s advocacy organisation in the US, Common Sense Media, with aims to put child safety and wellbeing at the heart of tech decision-making, including the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).

We will be launching this partnership at the Bett UK conference main stage at the ExCel Centre in London this afternoon, with a discussion on the global impact of AI on learning and children’s safety. This will be followed with a joint appearance at The Common Sense Summit on America’s Kids and Families in San Francisco at the end of the month, where speakers also include Secretary Hilary Clinton and Meta whistle-blower Arturo Bejar.

Childline AI concerns

This alliance comes as children have been reaching out to our Childline service with concerns about generative AI, including sexual abuse, bullying, and misinformation.

Among these mentions of AI:

  • Most involve the generation of child sexual abuse images or videos, or the threat to make them with blackmail/financial extortion.
  • There were some examples of young people sending “fake images” they had made themselves.
  • There were a few mentions of ChatGPT, usually from young people seeking information or reassurance about something they’d seen online.

One 15-year-old girl told Childline:

“A stranger online has made fake nudes of me. It looks so real, it’s my face and my room in the background. They must have taken the pictures from my Instagram and edited them. I’m so scared they will send them to my parents, the pictures are really convincing, and I don’t think they’d believe me that they’re fake.”

Partnership details

The partnership will advocate for children, making sure their experiences and safety are central to decision-making by tech companies and regulators, as well as at the front of global policymakers minds.

We are also going to be rolling out education programmes to increase digital literacy skills in schools, and share a joint approach to research in order to improve the global understanding of the impact of generative AI on children.

Our partnership will begin with a pilot to help school leaders teach children invaluable lessons about navigating the constantly evolving tech landscape in which they live. We aim to deliver best-in-class, age-appropriate digital and AI literacy lessons to children across the UK and respond to urgent policy challenges for children in the US, Europe and beyond.

More information and advice

For more information on the potential harms and concerns surrounding AI and children, Common Sense Media have created a rating system with information on the usage, risks and limitations of different AI systems. 

You can also contact our Helpline by calling 0808 800 5000, or emailing [email protected]

For children, we also provide our Childline service, where children can receive information and advice on a wide range of topics, including online safety, and access support and counselling.

Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 or message a counsellor on the 1-2-1 chat service.

If you think a child is in immediate danger
Don't delay – call the police on 999.

NSPCC Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless said:


“As one of the leading voices helping to achieve the Online Safety Act in the UK, we have long acknowledged the need for global collaboration by Governments, civil society and tech firms to drive children’s safety online.

“This cannot be clearer than in AI where a rush to gleam the significant benefits of technology has led to worldwide concerns about the danger it can also pose.

“The risk children face from unregulated and unsafe AI is already far too high, and their safety and experiences must be at the centre of conversations about its development and regulations. This partnership will seek to do that while also empowering young people with digital literacy skills to help them thrive.”

James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, said:

“To safely and responsibly harness the potential of AI for children, global organisations must work together to ensure that the government and private sector have children’s best interests at heart for all technology design, development, and deployment.

“The NSPCC, and the UK more broadly, is seeing great progress by activating its educators, parents, and policymakers, and we look forward to amplifying their efforts in the U.S. and globally.”

Lord Ed Vaizey of Didcot, Chair of Common Sense Media UK, said:

“With the NSPCC, Common Sense Media UK couldn’t have found a better partner to scale its mission and vision for children. Child advocacy is at the heart of everything we do. Collaborating with the UK’s leading child advocate will accelerate our common cause to keep children safe online, particularly in interacting with emerging AI technology.”


*Snapshots are based on real Childline service users but are not necessarily direct quotes. All names and potentially identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the child or young person involved.

Childline is receiving calls from young people concerned about AI, including AI facilitated child sexual abuse.  

  • Among these mentions of AI, most involve the generation of Child Sexual Abuse images or videos (or the threat to make them with blackmail/financial extortion)
  • Most child contacts were victims, however there were some examples of young people sending “fake images” they had made themselves too.  
  • There were a few mentions of ChatGPT and these were usually from young people seeking information or reassurance about something they’d seen online.  
  • Apps mentioned in these counselling sessions include Omegle, Google Chat, Snapchat (not the AI bot), Instagram, Whatsapp and Wizz.  
  • The numbers are still relatively low, and we haven’t issued a figure to protect confidentiality, and the feeling of confidentiality, of young people.

Common Sense Media have shared a blog about the partnership and need or children to be in the driver’s seat on AI development here.