Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Information science (social aspects)

Publication Details

Computer Law & Security Review, 28(5), 551-559.


Trust is an important feature for all users of the Internet who rely on the safety and security of network technologies and systems for their daily lives. Trust, or the lack of it, has also been identified by the European Commission’s Digital Agenda as a major barrier to further development of the information society in Europe. One of the areas in which concerns have been raised is in relation to children’s safety online. As a result, substantial efforts have been made by policymakers and by the industry to build greater trust and confidence in online digital safety. This paper examines what trust means in the context of children’s use of the Internet. Should policy on trust enhancement, for instance, include children’s own trust in the technologies or services they use or is it sufficient to seek to reinforce parental and adult confidence that children can be adequately protected? What is required to build that trust from either perspective? Does it need, or should it include a relationship of trust between parents and children? To tease out these questions further, the paper examines current European Union policy frameworks on digital safety, particularly industry responses to the call for a more trusted Internet environment for children, and argues that technical solutions to be effective need to carefully balance a number of competing objectives and to be sufficiently grounded in evidence of parental and child experience of the Internet.

DOI jclsr.2012.07.005

CLSR_4695.pdf (785 kB)