1st Edition

Online Harms and Cybertrauma Legal and Harmful Issues with Children and Young People

By Catherine Knibbs Copyright 2023
    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    This vital, sensitive guide explains the serious issues children face online and how they are impacted by them on a developmental, neurological, social, mental health and wellbeing level. Covering technologies used by children aged two through to adulthood, it offers parents and professionals clear, evidence-based information about online harms and their effects and what they can do to support their child should they see, hear or bear witness to these events online.

    Catherine Knibbs, specialist advisor in the field, explains the issues involved when using online platforms and devices in family, social and educational settings. Examined in as non-traumatising a way as possible, the book covers key topics including cyberbullying; cyberstalking; pornography; online grooming; sexting; live streaming; vigilantism; suicide and self-harm; trolling and e-harassment; bantz, doxing and social media hacking; dares, trends and life-threatening activities; information and misinformation; and psychological games. It also explores the complex overlap of offline and online worlds in children and young people’s lives. Offering guidance and proactive and reactive strategies based in neuroscience and child development, it reveals how e-safety is not one size fits all and must consider individual children’s and families’ vulnerabilities.

    Online Harms and Cybertrauma will equip professionals and parents with the knowledge to support their work and direct conversations about the online harms that children and young people face. It is essential reading for those training and working with children in psychological, educational and social work contexts, as well as parents, policy makers and those involved in development of online technologies.

    Introduction. 1 Psychological games. 2 Trends, challenges and hoaxes. 3 Information, misinformation and disinformation. 4 Cyberbullying. 5 Cyberstalking. 6 Bodies, health and wellbeing. 7 Self-harm. 8 Professionals who harm. Helplines and organisations. References and bibliography. Index.


    Catherine Knibbs is a Clinical and Academic Researcher, Consultant and Trainer in the fields of Cybertrauma and Online Harms, Director for Privacy4 Ltd and Online Safety UK, UKCP-Accredited Child and Adult Trauma Psychotherapist and TEDx speaker.


    Catherine has been involved in the cyberpsychology field of work for over 25yrs and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the forefront of this area. Her work provides a fascinating and informative perspective and details the challenges that, not just professionals, but anyone can face when dealing with these issues. She is able to observe and analyse the relevant facts and explains the problems to the reader, so they can fully appreciate and understand this complex work. As an Online Safety Professional, I follow Catherine's work very closely, and utilise the cross overs from her work into my own work, which greatly assists in the online protection of minors in today's world. 

    Andrew Briercliffe - "Online Safety Professional" - experience in Law Enforcement, Education and Social Media


    Cath is versed in critical thinking and presents a clear path to categorise information, misinformation and disinformation in a sector where health and well-being are jam-packed with non-specialists. 

    The resulting outcome of bad advice is that the developing child’s body can be impacted by the skewed knowledge of online ‘gurus’ giving out guidance that may well cause developmental and psychological harm.

    Movement, diet and body-based issues are rife amongst our young, with snake oil salespeople offering quick fixes. However, these pseudo-experts lack of awareness of our children’s current technological landscape and our young people’s social-media anxieties means the advice provided is ill-advised and, at worst, devastating.

    Our future generations deserve better and with my work looking to create more play opportunities for children that rely on less technology and sustainable real-world strategies to help with physical, emotional and mental well-being. It is excellent to collaborate with adults such as Cath, who labour to help adults understand the role they can play in creating safer online spaces for our kids.

    - Darryl Edwards, Movement Coach, author of the best-selling books "Animal Moves" and "My First Animal Moves", and a thought leader in creativity and innovation in fitness and health. Darryl developed the Primal Play Method® to inspire young and old to make physical activity fun. He blogs at PrimalPlay.com.


    As someone who works on the frontlines with Catherine Knibbs on the war on young people, she has nailed the chaotic weight of things battling for kids' attention, likes,

    clicks, follows, and time - but mostly end up doing huge damage to them in the process. Smart phones, social media, many of the so-called 'influencers' and less ethical brands have figured out there is huge profit in young people's low self-esteem, diminished well-being and faith that 'they alone' can fix it - with the 'they' often being bad advice, dodgy diets, dangerous exercise plan or a dependency on the filter and selfie culture that robs so much time and gives so much self-loathing in return. For all the parents, teachers, young people or just people who care about the future of young people - Catherine Knibbs' book is an essential read - it decodes all the modern mysteries and fads of the online world but also gives much needed tools to both protect your children - and you - from the many hostile forces they now have to contend with. 

    - Chloe Combi, Author, Speaker, Columnist, Futurist, Host of 'You Don't Know Me.'