Online Safety Act 2023: what it means for schools

Wrap your head around the Online Safety Act 2023, what it covers and what it means for your school. Download our staff factsheet to help keep your team up to date.

Last reviewed on 2 February 2024
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 48964
Contents
  1. What is the Online Safety Act? 
  2. It's not entirely in force, yet
  3. Understand what the act covers 
  4. Help pupils stay safe online 
  5. Keep staff up to date with our handout
  6. Continue to fulfil your other online safety duties 

What is the Online Safety Act? 

The Online Safety Act became law in October 2023. Its goal is to make the internet safer for everyone (particularly children) by placing more responsibility on social media platforms and other online companies to protect their users. 

Who does the act affect? 

Online services, such as:

  • Services that host user-generated content (e.g. social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram)
  • Search engines (e.g. Google and Bing)
  • Services that host pornographic content
  • Messaging platforms (e.g. WhatsApp)
  • Video-sharing platforms (established in the UK)

This is covered in Ofcom's guidance on online safety – what is Ofcom's role, and what does it mean for you?

The act doesn't mention schools. This may change over the next year if the DfE updates any guidance in light of the act. We'll update this article if the situation changes (select 'save for later' in the top right-hand corner of this