What parents need to know about the Online Safety Bill

There's lots of information being shared about the government's new Online Safety Bill - we're here to give you an overview of the key highlights and help you understand how it might affect your family. 

Family playing on ipad

  • The Online Safety Bill is a new law that's designed to make technology companies more accountable for the safety of everyone and to protect children from viewing harmful content online.
  • It may take some time to come into effect, and it will be regulated by Ofcom.
  • The government has committed to introducing legislation as a result of our Wild West Web campaign.

How the bill will make technology companies more accountable for young people's safety

  • A legal duty to protect children from illegal activity like child abuse and harmful content that promotes self-harm or suicide will be established.
  • Terms and conditions must be made clearer for children to understand.
  • Users must be provided with effective ways of reporting issues.
  • Child sexual abuse content found on their platforms must be reported.
  • Fines will be given if they fail to ensure their services are safe for children to use.
  • Bosses could face prosecution if they don’t cooperate with the regulator.
  • Pornographic websites must enable age verification to help prevent young people gaining access to sites.
  • New measures will be introduced to clamp down on anonymous trolls and help deal with cyberbullying.
  • Cyberflashing, the sending of unsolicited sexual images or "nudes", will be made a crime.

The Online Safety Bill is a landmark piece of legislation that must act as a key pillar of the child protection system for generations to come. 

The bill comes 4 years after the NSPCC first secured a commitment from the government to regulate social media and will be judged on whether it effectively and unambiguously tackles inherently preventable child abuse.  

We'll be scrutinising the bill closely and continue to work with the government to ensure it provides children and families with the clear protection they need.



Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO

How can I help keep my child safe online?

While this landmark legislation will tackle many harms that children experience online, it isn’t exhaustive and will take some time to come into effect.

As a result, it's more crucial than ever for parents and carers to help keep children safe online. Talking regularly with your child about their online use and asking them what they do and how it makes them feel is one of the most effective ways to help them.

Read more about starting a conversation or tackling difficult topics in an age-appropriate way by visiting our advice on talking to your child

Need more advice?

Parents and carers should have all the information they need to help keep kids safe online, but sometimes this can be hard to find. That's why we've collected everything you need to know in our online safety hub.

The information is organised by topic to make everything easy to find. We have pages for social media, online gaming and parental controls that explain the risks, and the steps you can take, to help keep your kids safe online. 

We also cover what parents need to know about topics such as sharing nudes, livestreaming, harmful content and reporting online safety issues

Worried about a child?

Our Helpline is available every day for adults who are worried about a child to provide advice and support.


0808 800 5000

Report a concern