Digital Childhoods: A Survey of Children and Parents

The UK Children’s Commissioner’s Office

This report aims to understand digital childhoods, and what can be achieved through the Online Safety Bill to protect children online. The Children’s Commissioner’s Office (CCo) commissioned a survey of 2,005 children aged 8-17 and their parents. This survey is nationally representative of children in England, by age, gender and region. All statistics mentioned in this report are from this survey.

Building on Ofcom’s research into children’s media use and attitudes, this research makes several new contributions including a breakdown of children’s exposure to harmful content by type of content and platform, by FSM eligibility and by use of parental tools as well as a breakdown of the reasons why children don’t report harmful content to social media platforms and the response children receive to reporting harmful content. This report also presents new insights into parents' and children's attitudes to the role of age assurance in protecting children from harm on social media and messaging platforms. The Commissioner also requested information from six major tech firms – Apple, Google, Meta, Snap, TikTok and Twitter – on children’s use of their platforms. The companies have committed to continue sharing this data with the Children’s Commissioner on a six-monthly basis in recognition of her unique role in overseeing children’s rights and views.