The Duke of Cambridge launches Cyberbullying Taskforce

The Duke of Cambridge will convene a new industry-led taskforce to support young people and their families affected by cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying TaskforceHis Royal Highness has asked tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman CBE to chair the group, with support for this ambitious project from The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Over the next year, The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying will bring together industry partners and a group of advisors from the sector to develop an industry-wide response to the online bullying of young people, with a focus on 12-14 year olds.

A spokesman for The Duke of Cambridge said:

"This is an issue that The Duke feels strongly about. He knows that social media and other technologies are creating significant positive opportunities for millions of young people. But as a parent, he knows that many people worry about how to protect their children from the new avenues for bullying that technology is creating. He hopes the taskforce can help the industry share the best practice that is emerging across the sector and put in place new standards so that the internet remains something young people and their parents can embrace with confidence."

Studies suggest that some 35% of 11-17 year olds have experienced some form of cyberbullying during their lives, and 40% have witnessed cyberbullying within a social network they use. Cyberbullying, in common with other forms of bullying, can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of children and young people. The effect of technology means the impact of bullying is instantly multiplied through social networks, and can feel harder for young people to escape.

While most social platforms and service providers do have systems in place for reporting or removing abusive content, there is no common industry standard or commitment to tackle the issue, nor is there an existing single repository of information for users on how to address it.

The taskforce will take existing models of good practice for reporting abusive content on individual networks and develop a set of commitments for the industry to sign up to, to collectively tackle the issue. It will consider the development of a single resource of up to date practical support and information for young people affected by cyberbullying, with advice on how to get help. It will also work to help parents and adults to better understand cyberbullying, and give them the confidence to find appropriate help and resources to support children affected by the issue.

Full membership of the taskforce will be announced soon, but will include leading figures from technology companies and internet service providers. The taskforce will also be supported by a panel of young people aged 11-15, to ensure it remains engaged in current online trends.

Brent Hoberman CBE said:

"This Taskforce will bring together the commitment, talent and expertise of the technology industry to tackle Cyberbullying and the terrible effect it has on children. The future of our children is inextricably linked with the Internet. It is our responsibility to ensure that they grow up confident and happy online so that they can make the most of the extraordinary potential it offers."

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on May 19, 2016 11:34

Three quarters of 10-12 Year-olds have underage social media accounts

Latest report from BBC Newsround reports 3/4 of children aged 10-12 have a social media profile

ChatFOSS Screen GrabPut simply 75% of children are breaking legal terms and conditions, a shockingly high number. As we know once the 50% mark is reached it is very difficult for parents not to bow to peer pressure as they do not want their children to miss out or be labelled as “uncool”. The problem is self perpetuating resulting in such high levels of young children using age inappropriate apps. Why is it that in the online world such terms and conditions are just blithely ignored?

The online and offline world seem to operate with very different sets of instructions. A recent straw poll saw 100% of year 5 and 6 children say they had watched or played a game with a rating of 18. When posed the same question with regards to films only 3 hands went up. Despite all the good work that goes on with organisations such as NSPCC, PEGI, SwGfL to name but a few the message is clearly not getting through to parents or children. How do educational professionals deal with this, as the saying goes “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. E-safety seminars within schools are notorious for low attendance, with parents either deliberately or naively turning a blind eye.

In the Ofcom report on Children’s media use parents cited the main reason they did not, for example use safe search, was because they trusted their children. Trust is not enough, children must be protected. There is a difference between “trust” and “protection”. We need to educate parents that even if you “trust” your child you still need to protect them. Children wear cycling helmets – this is not because we don’t “trust” them to fall off their bikes – it is because we want to protect them.

For the first time, children are now spending more time on the Internet than watching TV and are accessing content unsupervised at an increasingly younger age, so rather than turning a blind eye, parents should be actively discussing Internet use with their children. If parents are familiar with the online playground their children are in, they will at least have some notion of the potential risks. And once they do know where their children are hanging out, they then have the opportunity to suggest safer alternatives such as ChatFOSS. Afterall, we don’t want to prevent young people from learning how to use social media properly as it is integral to modern life. By showing them safer alternatives which teach them the principles without the risks, it’s like teaching them to ride a bike with stabilisers.

Happily, the majority of underage usage of apps such as Instagram, twitter and facebook is entirely innocent, however that does not mean such usage does not bring with it risks. The reported increase in mental health issues that is being attributed to social media seems to have no impact on parental decisions. Can the recent Newsround report stating that 37% of children who use social media underage are friends with someone they have never met encourage parents to be more involved in e-safety? I hope so.

We would like to thank our latest guest blogger, Alicia Coad, for her thoughts on this topic. To find out more about Alicia and ChatFOSS, click here.

Written by Alicia Coad on March 03, 2016 11:43

Top 10 tips for promoting schools via social media

Download this useful guide to making the best use of social media for your school

Making the decision to promote your school through social media is a huge step. With the protection and safeguarding of students at the forefront of their minds, many school leaders worry about the risks.

But the benefits of using social media to promote your school and engage with stakeholders – parents, students, teachers, governors and the local community – can far outweigh the risks. In many instances, these risks can be easily mitigated with effective forward planning.

The benefits of using social media in schools include:

  • Better talent identification and recruitment (LinkedIn is great for this)
  • Improved communications with parents
  • Two-way dialogue with parents to improve student outcomes
  • Bigger or better public profile for your school (building public awareness of your achievements, successes and specialisms)
  • Increased local business engagement for both student career development opportunities, potential sponsorship or events and venue hire income
  • Improved internal communications among staff and students
  • Better career prospects for students (students who understand how to use social media are often able to connect with potential employers, and have heightened awareness of how their social media presence can positively or negatively affect their chances of becoming employed)

    This downloadable PDF guide from the digital strategists and educators at Jonny Ross Consultancy gives the top ten tips for schools on using social media for promotion, communication and engagement.

    It includes advice on setting up social media accounts, managing risks through forward planning and setting out clear guidance policies, and running campaigns to promote your school and engage with stakeholders.

    For more free advice on using social media in schools, visit the JRC blog and search for “schools”.

    Safer Internet Day #esstips competition
    We are delighted to announce that the team at Johnny Ross Consultancy are adding to the #esstips SID2016 competition prize pot. Each of the category winners will receive a one hour consultancy, reviewing their school social media profile, with advice on what they should be doing, what they could be doing and how they can use social media to make a difference for their school. Find out more

  • Written by Jonny Ross Consultancy on February 04, 2016 12:21

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