New transatlantic partnership aims to put children’s voices at the heart of AI development to address impact and risks

The NSPCC and Common Sense Media, will launch a new transatlantic partnership at Bett UK on 25 January 2024.

Image of Bett UK event Jan 24

- NSPCC and Common Sense Media join forces with three-pronged approach to keep children safe and foster healthy experiences in emerging technology 

- CEOs will announce partnership  on the BETT UK Conference main stage, as well as at next week’s The Common Sense Summit on Kids and Families in San Francisco

- Alliance comes as Childline reveals young people are reaching out for support about AI risks such as bullying and sexual abuse, and builds on Common Sense Media’s new AI ratings system

London, U.K. – January 25, 2024 - A new transatlantic partnership aims to put child safety and well-being at the heart of tech decision-making, including the development and use of artificial intelligence.The leading UK and US children’s advocacy organisations, the NSPCC and Common Sense Media, will launch their partnership at Bett UK, a London edtech conference this afternoon.

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The three-pronged partnership will advocate for children, ensuring their experiences and safety are central to decision making by tech companies and regulators, as well as front of mind for policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic and globally.The organisations will also roll out education programmes to increase digital literacy skills in schools and share a joint approach to research in order to improve global understanding of the impact of generative AI on children.This alliance comes as the NSPCC-run Childline reveals young people are contacting the service about AI child sexual abuse material and other harms linked to generative AI such as bullying and misinformation.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.”NSPCC Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless and Common Sense Media founder and CEO James P. Steyer will discuss the global impact of AI on learning and children’s safety at the BETT EdTech conference at the Excel in East London today.They will argue that the benefits of AI cannot mean children’s safety is overlooked and launch their vision for the needs and safety of young people to be embedded in product and policy decisions in the boardroom, classroom, and legislatures.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 Hillary Clinton and Meta whistle-blower Arturo Bejar.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, hailed the new partnership. “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,” Steyer said.The NSPCC and Common Sense Media UK partnership will begin with a pilot to scale digital citizenship and literacy classes in schools in south Wales.The pilot will use NSPCC networks and Common Sense Media resources to help school leaders teach children invaluable lessons about navigating the constantly evolving tech landscape in which they live.In response to emerging possibilities of the digital world, 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.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.”
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