At the heart of our Manifesto is the belief that technology should earn people's trust and transform their lives for the better. So we take a responsible approach to tech and respect human rights in our own business and through our broader relationships, as reflected in BT Group’s Human Rights Policy. 

This approach recognises that some groups of people are more vulnerable or have particular characteristics that need special consideration. 

As a company serving families and those caring for children across the UK, we understand that children’s lives are increasingly playing out in the digital world. Research from Ofcom showed that 90% of children own their own mobile by the time they are 11, with around 80% having had at least one potentially harmful experience online in the past year. 

While many child rights issues are also human rights issues affecting everyone, children merit dedicated attention because they are still developing, and they need support to protect their rights and encourage their empowerment. That is why we continually review our impact on children’s rights and safety in the digital environment. 

This work is overseen by BT Group’s Responsible Tech Steering Group. We also report progress to BT Group’s Responsible Business Committee. 

BT Group is a digital business. So, we looked at child rights in the digital environment for those under 18. We also consider child rights in our supply chain, and in how we treat our employees with caring responsibilities. Information on these areas can be found below. 

What are our areas of impact on child rights?

  • CSEA is happening across the world in almost all digital environments. This includes the production, sharing, downloading, live streaming, and storage of child sexual abuse material as well as grooming, contacting, seeking to meet or traffic children. As a provider of connectivity and digital services, BT Group is an important player in the fight against child sexual exploitation and all forms of abuse.

    What do we do?

    • We block child sexual abuse material on our core network and proactively scan outbound email for child sexual abuse material.

    • We have a Trust and Safety Centre to address internet abuse incidents.

    • We have notice and takedown procedures in place.
    Internet Watch Foundation
    Internet Watch Foundation

    We have been a member of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) since 1997 and signpost IWF child sexual abuse material (CSAM) hotline across our websites to make it easier for people to report abuse.

  • Access to the internet and digital services - combined with the skills and parental support to navigate the internet safely - can open up a world of opportunity for children and young people to exercise their rights. BT group can help tackle the digital divide and support greater digital access. We are also committed to supporting young people to develop digital skills that will help them launch careers in digital and data.  In addition, we provide advice and tools to parents, carers and children on how to get the most out of their digital lives with a focus on safety, empowerment and resilience.

    What do we do?


    • We support digital access through our BT Home Essentials low-cost broadband and our EE social tariff.

    • We partner with Homestart to improve families’ digital connections.

    • We're actively working towards increasing the accessibility and usability of all our online communications for disabled people, including disabled children, by complying with level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG) as a minimum.

    Digital skills 

    • We run bootcamps for 16–18-year-olds to inspire students into careers in digital and data, providing goal setting and employability guidance.

    • Internationally, we support UNICEF to help young people achieve new tech skills. Their award-winning Learning Passport gives continuous access to quality education for children whose schooling is interrupted. This will improve learning outcomes for the hardest to reach by increasing access to digital education, building the workforce of tomorrow.

    • We're one of the largest private sector employers of apprentices and graduates in the UK. In 2022, BT Group was ranked third in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers in the UK.

    Online safety education, awareness, and tools

    • We are founding members of Internet Matters, helping children and young people use the internet safely.
    • We integrate free parental content controls across our broadband and mobile products to better protect children as they learn and grow. 
    • We offer EE PhoneSmart to help prepare children to be safe and kind online. Over 1,200 EE PhoneSmart licences were issued by the end of 2022 alone.
    • We offer a Set Up Safe service that helps carers quicky and easily set up their child’s phone with safety features. 

    EE PhoneSmart licences issued by the end of 2022

  • BT Group has a responsibility to respect the privacy of all customers and users, including children. While children are not parties to our customer contracts, we recognise that they use some of our products. As a result, we have a responsibility to carefully consider how we handle data, with children in mind. 

    What do we do?

    • We assess the impacts of our products and services on children’s privacy as part of our Privacy Impact Assessment process.

    • We have written our privacy policy with children in mind, and we aim for it to be readable by those 10 years old and above.
  • Children may be more susceptible to certain commercial practices and they might find it more difficult to recognise commercial influence. When children are exposed to marketing and advertising - and particularly when their data is collected or used - this increases the risk of commercial exploitation. We have a responsibility to consider this when developing advertising campaigns or entering into sponsorships that may be particularly enticing to children.

    What do we do?

    We have a sponsorship governance process and follow advertising rules and regulations including the Advertising Standard Authority CAP and BCAP Codes, which cover a wide range of child-related issues, for example:

    • We don’t make direct appeals to children to buy or persuade an adult to buy.

    • We don’t encourage children to take risks or copy unsafe practices.

    • We are clear when adult permission is required.

    • We make it easy for children to distinguish between real life and fantasy.
  • The latest global estimates indicate that the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide. Children in child labour are at risk of physical and mental harm. Child labour compromises education, restricts rights and limits future opportunities - leading to cycles of poverty and future child labour. We have a responsibility to ensure child labour is not used anywhere in our supply chain and if it is found that it's happened, we'll take a child centered approach to making it right. 

    What do we do?

    • We prohibit the use of child labour in our Human Rights Policy and Sourcing with Human Dignity Standard. These are integrated into our due diligence process before engaging suppliers.
    • We conduct on-site supplier assessments to identify child labour and we require appropriate remediation if it is found.
    • We publish an annual Modern Slavery Statement describing the steps we take to deal with modern slavery risks, including child labour, in our supply chains and own operation.
    0 m

    estimated children in child labour worldwide

  • Children may be affected by the policies that we have in place for parents or carers who are employed by us. That's why we have a number of benefits that support families. 

    What do we do?

    • We provide enhanced maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave, and parental leave that is inclusive of all types of families, in line with our diversity and inclusion policies.

    • We offer return to work support and flexible working.

    • We can provide emergency time off, unpaid carer leave, and support for employees with caring responsibilities.

    • Our employees can access a comprehensive in-house wellbeing portal. This includes a range of support services and guidance for families and parenting.

    • When colleagues volunteer with children we comply with the safeguarding policies of our partner organisations, including schools and charities.