Youth Online Safety Recommendations

Online spaces have become an integral part of our society, offering countless opportunities for communication, education, and engagement. However, alongside its benefits, the online world presents significant risks, particularly for young people. Children and youth, with their extensive online presence and potential lack of awareness about these threats, are particularly susceptible to the negative consequences of online activities. That is why Friends initiated the Ask Us! Project.

Friends and the World Anti-Bullying Forum together with Unesco, The Walt Disney Company and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill brought youth together in and from different regions during 2023. During a workshop at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, followed by a panel discussion on the opening day of the forum, the international group of youths shared their recommendations for youth online safety.

Here are their recommendations to adults, legislators, and decision-makers.


Youth Online Safety Recommendations

Join forces with children and youth

  • Develop and spread online safety initiatives by youth for youth.
  • Work across generations, many perspectives are needed to battle the threats online.

Update the Educational System’s Online Responsibilities

  • Teach general skills such as consent and empathy, skills needed in all environments and aspects of life today.
  • Teach specific skills for online environments and make sure they are updated/contemporary.
  • Work together with students to understand the school climate. Adults will never be able to cover and understand what is going on, which goes for both off- and online.
  • Make sure schools take responsibility for what happens online – as what happens online affects the environments fostered at school.
  • Schools need to work together with guardians to create awareness about what risks young people face in online spaces.
  • Encourage teachers and schools to make online rules together with the students.

Engage Trusted Adults

  • Turning to a friend is often the first option for many children and youth. Adults need tools to understand how to engage in the online aspects of children’s lives. They have to know enough to be able to give guidance.
  • Not everyone has a trusted adult at home to confide in. Therefore there needs to be support provided by trusted adults in schools, sports clubs and helplines.

Time for Tech to Level the Playing Field!

  • Tech companies need to take full responsibility for the effect they have on young people and our community.
  • Create algorithms that support self-love instead of bullying, harassment, and violence.
  • We urge these prominent companies to create algorithms and tools that enable young people to easily opt out of content that is detrimental to their well-being.
  • Furthermore, we ask that these companies create environments and embed resources and support systems that protect young people from bullying, harassment, and violence.
  • Remain and increase transparency on how data, particularly of young users is being used.
  • Work together with legislators to create a centralized regulatory framework. Cyber harassment is innovative, it needs to be addressed with force.