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Date: 21st September 2021




This session has emerged out of the findings of a programme of work initially run as part of a Home Office and Department of Culture, Media & Sport-run entitled the Verification of Children Online (VoCO). The problem identified by the VoCO project was that parents have little control over their children’s exposure to harm in digital contexts, such as cyberbullying and content promoting eating disorders, for example, as well as threats to their privacy, which may come to affect children and young people in the long-term.

In response, policy and technical solutions to these problems were sought out, developed and tested. TrustElevate’s technology was identified as being able to empower parents/caretakers to have the necessary oversight over their children’s online activities, in parallel with that which they have in offline contexts. Participants also completed feedback forms and their responses were positive: parents and children alike want to be able to mitigate digital harms. 

And with children spending a great deal of time in school and their exposure to digital harms impacting on their experiences and interactions in school settings, it is vital that safeguarding staff are included in this ongoing conversation - particularly in the wake of Covid lockdowns. Lockdowns have had a major impact on the relationships students have with the on- and offline worlds. For example, children increasingly use live streaming platforms, making them more vulnerable to adults with a sexual interest in children, who may take those interactions offline. Schools have a duty of care to students to help them navigate such issues. 

We are inviting you to join a one hour session with Dr Rachel O’Connell, with a PhD in preventing paedophile activity online and David Clarke, a leading expert in cybersecurity (further speaker information below). We will cover: 

  • The scope, significance and outcomes of the VoCO project.

  • Data-driven harms to children’s safety and wellbeing: psychographic profiling, data-driven virality, data-driven gamification of services and more. 

  • Insights on data protection provision and regulations including General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Age Appropriate Design Code.

  • Opportunities for building a better internet for children and young people, one that respects their rights to participate in digital environments operated by providers that protects their wellbeing.


This is a unique opportunity to learn more about the role of schools in protecting children’s wellbeing and ask any questions you might have about digital safeguarding, TrustElevate’s role in the groundbreaking, Government-run VoCO project designed to transform the internet to better protect children and young people or anything else!


We look forward to seeing you there! 


Speaker - Dr Rachel O’Connell 


TrustElevate’s founder, Dr Rachel O’Connell, is a leading expert on digital safeguarding. Her PhD examined paedophile activity online and the implications for investigative strategies. She is the author of an identity attribute verification standard, the Pas 1296, Age Checking Code of Practice published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and is now becoming an ISO standard. Rachel is a member of the BSI technical committee IST/33/5 Identity Management and Privacy Technologies and its panel IST/33/5/5 Age Assurance Standards. She is a Technical Advisor to the UK, Australian and Irish Governments, Google, US FTC, GCHQ, EU Commission, WHO, and Unicef and has participated in the World Health Organisation’s work programme which explores the relationship between childhood obesity and digital advertising. Dr O’Connell set up the first UK Internet Safety Centre in 2000 and was the Chief Security Officer for Bebo, a social networking platform, from 2006-2010. In founding TrustElevate, her aim was to continue in her efforts to better safeguard children online.

Rachel’s PhD examined the implications of online paedophile activity for investigative strategies. The findings of her research have led her to be so passionate about leveraging technology to keep children safe online.

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