Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Children and adolescents in the UK spend increasingly more time in the digital world, raising societal fears about digital risks in this age group. Professionals are not always aware of the ever-developing research or guidance available around digital safety. This gap underscores the need to understand current experiences and determinants of digital risk assessment, including clinicians' views on barriers and facilitators. A mixed-method design was used. Fifty-three clinicians working in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in South England took part in a survey; of these 12 took part in semi-structured interviews. A psychological model of behavioural change (COM-B: capabilities, opportunities, motivation and behaviour) guided the analyses. Survey data revealed that clinicians showed awareness and concerns for several digital risk issues but there appeared to be gaps in their knowledge and practice. Interview data revealed different factors influencing staff enquiry about digital risks in CAMHS. These included aspects of capabilities (knowledge and skills), opportunities (resources, organisational context and empowerment of youth), and motivations (habit change, emotional experiences, and professional identity/role). Targeting both staff-level and organisation-level barriers to digital risk assessments in CAMHS is crucial. This study informs service improvement to ensure that children and young people safely navigate the digital world.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry

Publication Date





255 - 269


COM-B, Digital risk, child and adolescent mental health services, online safety, social media, youth mental health, Humans, Adolescent, Child, Mental Health Services, England, Motivation, Fear, Adolescent Health Services