Young people across Europe call on adults to help them tackle sexual harassment online

Young people in the UK, Hungary and Denmark have come together to tackle online sexual harassment and what they need from adults to help them to put an end to it.


Project deShame‘Support us every step of the way, even if you think we may have done something wrong’ – young person from Denmark

The film has been created as part of Project deSHAME, a Europe-wide project to tackle sexual harassment carried out by young people online. Defined as ‘unwanted sexual conduct on any online platform’, online sexual harassment amongst young people is an increasingly present issue in schools and local communities. Each of the countries involved in Project deSHAME consulted an advisory board made up of young people to ensure that these resources were reflective of young people experiences.

Our research found that 51% of respondents aged 13-17 years said they have witnessed people their age circulating nude or nearly nude images of someone they know, with 10% of UK teens receiving sexual threats online. However young people in the UK said that they were more likely to ignore online sexual harassment than to speak to their parents or carers, with 49% not telling their parents as they were worried that they would then stop them from using the internet.

This film is designed to inspire change among young people, so that they feel empowered to step up to online sexual harassment, whether that is through reporting to social media, the police or a trusted adult.

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet, and coordinator of Project deSHAME said:
"This film is a direct call to action from young people to put an end to online sexual harassment. We know that young people are passionate about making a real difference online and this film will act as an inspiration for those who watch it. The power of this film is that it gives us the unique opportunity to hear directly from young people about what they need from the adults in their lives, whether that is their parents, carers, teachers, youth workers and as well as the internet industry. It’s clear that all of us must act now to put an end to online sexual harassment.”

What young people want adults to do

During the creation of this film the young people told us what they wanted adults to do if a young person came to them after facing sexual harassment online. This is what they said:

  1. Supports us every step of the way, even if you think we may have done something wrong
  2. To not get angry or overreact if we tell you something that shocks you
  3. Gain knowledge about social media and the digital world we identify with
  4. We need you to be a figure of support and not a figure of authority
  5. Explain to us what help there is, and how we can get it
  6. To know that you’re going to take it seriously, not brush it off
  7. To make us feel safe
  8. To reassure us that you’re going to help

56% of young people in the UK said that embarrassment was the main reason they would not report online sexual harassment. Project deSHAME has worked with young people and professionals to develop practical resources to instigate open and regular conversations about this issue.

Resources to help parents and carers

To help parents and carers to support their children with some of the issues raised in this film Childnet have created a new resource outlining further information about sexting.

This ‘Hot Topic’ contains statistics about sexting among young people, answers some FAQs that parents may have and then breaks down guidance for parents into age appropriate sections, including tailored advice for:

  • 3-7 year olds
  • 7-11 year olds
  • 11-14 year olds
  • 14-18 year olds
  • There is also guidance to help parents who discover that their child’s nude image has been shared online.

    Written by Childnet International on May 24, 2019 09:10

    VPN Technology for 'Child Safe' Internet

    How does VPN technology work and how can it protect young people?


    VPN technology is a configuration available in all new mobile phones, laptops. PCs and even Wi-Fi routers that enables forwarding all Internet traffic first to a remote server called ‘VPN Server’.

    This technology is usually used by Enterprises to let their employees connect to their corporate servers securely and also enables a way for them to monitor everything from a single VPN server.

    Most of today's children have the ability via their device to access any network which provides free access to the world wide web. This presents a whole host of risks and demonstrates how vulnerable today's children can actually be when given the opportunity to open many different doors to the internet without any protection.

    How it works; Normal Internet Access

    Friendly WiFi Internet Flow

    Problems accessing the Internet without a VPN

    The first problem is that it is the wi-fi router which assigns you the public IP address or in other words publishes your ‘location’. Every single entity in the path of communications knows your almost exact location. You can check this by navigating to any site like http://ipstack.com and see the amount of detail available to all third party websites and all networks in between.

    Secondly, at every stage, the entities know which websites and applications you are accessing. If communications are unencrypted, they can also read it, watch it, listen to it, whatever the case may be. They can also keep a log of the activity and apply ‘policies’ as well. Common policies are to block some applications like some games or torrents or WhatsApp / Skype calling etc.

    Internet access with VPN

    When you connect VPN, it establishes a secure tunnel between you and the VPN servers. Nobody in between sees which websites or applications are being accessed. You are issued your public IP address by the VPN server instead of your wi-fi router.

    Benefits of Internet access via a VPN include:

  • Hiding your location
  • Protection from snooping or un-trustworthy wifi hotspots
  • Stopping false alarms in online banking and other applications
  • Protection from eavesdroppers
  • Child protection features

    If you are interested in finding out more about VPN, Friendly WiFi Partners ‘SafeLabs’ have created a ‘Child Safe’ simple to use method allowing families to connect safely to the internet. They have launched a ‘Child Safe’ VPN service, which is easily applied to any device (PC, Laptop, mobile or tablet) giving parents and their children peace of mind that when browsing the internet they are protected from accessing inappropriate material. Read more.

    Friendly WiFi VPN Tunnel

  • Written by Friendly WiFi on June 14, 2019 09:04

    Mental Health Awareness Week - Social Media Causes Body Image Concerns

    Millions of teenagers worry about body image and identify social media as a key cause – new survey by the Mental Health Foundation


    Mental Health Awareness Week 2019Millions of teenagers in Britain worry about their body image according to a new British survey published by the Mental Health Foundation.

    The online survey of British teenagers aged 13 to 19 was commissioned as part of Mental Health Awareness Week which this year has the theme of body image.

    It found that almost one third (31 per cent) of teenagers felt ashamed in relation to their body image.

    Four in ten teenagers (40 per cent) said images on social media had caused them to worry about body image.

    More than a third of British teenagers (35 per cent) had stopped eating at some point or restricted their diets as a result of worrying about their body image.

    Four in ten teenagers (40 per cent) said that things their friends have said have made them worry about their body image.

    Thirty five per cent of teenagers worried in relation to their body image often or every day, and 37 per cent of teenagers felt upset and ashamed in relation to their body image.

    Jane Caro, Programme Lead for Families, Children and Young People at the Mental Health Foundation said: “Our survey has shown that millions of young people in Britain are worrying about their body image. Worries about body image can lead to mental health problems and in some instances are linked to self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

    “It is also clear from our survey that teenagers are identifying images on social media as a key factor that makes them worry about their body image. Conversations with their friends also have a major role in causing young people to worry.”

    The Foundation report “Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies” highlights the range of commercial and advertising pressures on body image which are contributing to mental health problems for millions of young people and calls for immediate action across all aspects of society to safeguard the health of teenagers as they grow up.

    Jane said “Action starts in our families and homes with how we talk about our bodies and about eating, but we also need more regulation of advertising promoting idealised and unattainable body images. Social media companies should urgently up their game in taking practical steps to ensure that the content they promote does not exacerbate body image concerns.”



    A selection of resources to help support schools with mental well-being are available as part of our Safeguarding Essentials membership package. Resources include classroom materials, parent guide, school checklist and policy and a staff training course. Find out more

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on May 16, 2019 10:02


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