Digital Christmas

Presents unwrap more than paper

With Christmas just around the corner, many children will be hoping for the latest iPhone X, or indeed their first ever phone. Two weeks away from schoolmates and with a new device at their fingertips, children are vulnerable to making online mistakes as they excite in the joy of their new gadget and the opportunity to connect with their friends.

These gifts open them up to a whole new world of fun, opportunity and risk.

These digital kids are no different to children of old – they crave attention and they want to push boundaries and what better way to do it than through social media? As their family sit relaxed enjoying the Christmas TV specials are they aware of just what their children are doing online?

Schools throughout the country offer excellent online safety education and strive to use new and innovative ways to keep the children engaged on the topic. However once children are in the comfort and safety of their own home, perhaps bored due to the lack of structure the holiday brings, they can start to take risks.

By the time the term begins, pastoral staff can find themselves with a queue of children and parents all concerned and upset about social media incidents that have taken place in the holiday period and spilled into the classroom. There is only so much the school can do – parents need to understand that giving a child a device is opening a can of worms.

A step by step approach is needed, no child is allowed to jump on a plane to New York unaccompanied – freedom is given gradually over time, starting with trips to the local shop, then town and so on. Yet with the online world it tends to be all or nothing. Parents need to engage with the online world and replicate the step by step approach to parenting that occurs offline.

As teachers all you can do is signpost your families – they need to know that as the world evolves so does the online offering. Filters on wifi are an easy win for parents, this is not about not trusting your child when they search for things, more ensuring they are protected from images they most likely do not want to see. ChatFOSS is also a useful app – it enables families to communicate with each other in privacy without contact from others – and has an age rating of 3+. It is a great environment for children to practice sending messages and photos.

Whilst teachers strive to educate children about the online world and the opportunities and risks it brings with it, parents also need to be engaged. Easier said than done but it is time parents realised the responsibility of online behaviour has to lie at the door of the parents. Schools can be helpful and offer advice and training, signpost their parents to useful apps such as ChatFOSS and websites such as Internet Matters, but without the parents being involved children will learn the hard way – online mistakes are permanent and there for whole world to see.

E-safety Support would like to thank Alicia from ChatFOSS for her thoughts on this topic. For more information about the ChatFOSS service, click here

Written by Alicia Coad on November 30, 2017 13:44

Quarter of young Brits confess to ‘bullying or insulting’ someone online

26 per cent of the 16-18 year olds have ‘bullied or insulted someone else’ online

Laptop black and whiteDemos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank: an independent, educational charity, which produces original and innovative research. Their new research mapping the behaviour and decision-making of young people online, identifies a shockingly high incidence of hostile online behaviour towards peers – often linked to having previously experienced abuse on social media. Significantly, it highlights the strong relationship between offline and online character and morality in young people.

  • 26 per cent of the 16-18 year olds surveyed say they have ‘bullied or insulted someone else’ online
  • 15 per cent of the young people surveyed said they had ‘joined in with other people to “troll” a celebrity or public figure’
  • Boys are significantly more likely to say they have bullied or insulted someone online than girls (32 per cent compared with 22 per cent) or ‘trolled’ a public figure (22 per cent compared with 10 per cent)
  • 93 per cent of those who said they had insulted or bullied someone else online, said that they had themselves experienced some form of cyber-bullying or abuse
  • Conversely, Demos finds that 88 per cent of the teenagers surveyed had given emotional support to someone online
  • Their analysis finds that young people with stronger traits of empathy and self-control are considerably less likely to engage in cyberbullying.
  • The major new research project, which spanned nine months, involved Demos surveying 668 16-to-18 year olds over Facebook, exploring their online behaviour and responses to various social media scenarios. Demos also held focus groups with 40 teenagers in London and Birmingham, as well as expert roundtables with teachers and other youth work professionals. Demos’ Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) also used innovative methods to analyse the dynamics and contents of ‘trolling’ attacks on Twitter.

    Demos’ focus groups found that young people are often drawn into cyber bullying because they are aware that their friends can see they are being bullied or insulted online, which leaves them compelled to respond in an aggressive way.

    Although the research finds that many young people are attuned to the moral implications of behaviour on social media many young people say they would take no action when they see someone they know being bullied online.

    At the same time, young people also clearly use social media to build friendships and express their beliefs in more positive ways: 88 per cent of the young people surveyed have given emotional support to a friend on social networking sites, and just over half (51 per cent) have posted about ‘a political or social cause that they care about’.

    Social media analysis by Demos looking at the dynamics of ‘trolling’ finds that although social media often facilitates the rapid spread of abuse online, it also gives young people the opportunity to exercise empathy and courage, by coming to the defence of the victim.

    Demos research finds that young people’s character – or the personal traits, values and skills that guide individual conduct – may be significant in determining the extent to which they engage in positive or negative behaviours online. Young people who admit to engaging in risky or unethical behaviour online are, for example, found to demonstrate lower levels of moral sensitivity to others, and have lower self-reported character strengths.

    Certain traits such as empathy, self-control and ‘civic mindedness’, seem particularly closely linked to different types of behaviour. Those with higher levels of empathy and self-control exhibit reduced likelihood of engaging in bullying over social media, while those with high levels of ‘civic mindedness’ are more likely to post about political or social issues.

    Based on the findings of the report, Demos made a number of recommendations, including:

  • The Department for Education should look to rejuvenate the character agenda within Government, through a third round of Character Education Grants, this time focused on developing good character online.
  • The Government should put digital citizenship at the heart of the new Digital Charter, and use its convening power to secure meaningful cross-sectoral collaboration over digital citizenship education.
  • Schools should look to deliver Digital Citizenship education which contains a strong emphasis on the moral implications of online social networking, with a focus on participatory approaches which seek to develop students’ moral and ethical sensitivity.
  • Schools should look to develop school-home links around digital citizenship, supporting parents to close the digital literacy gap and develop effective parental mediation approaches.
  • Commenting on the findings, the report’s author, Peter Harrison-Evans, Researcher at Demos said:
    This research also shows the links between character traits such as empathy and self-control, and how young people think and act on social media. It’s here that we feel policy-makers, schools, and parents can make the biggest difference – empowering young people to make a positive contribution to their online communities by building their social digital skills and increasing their online moral sensitivity.

    Find Out More

    Written by E-safety Support on November 23, 2017 10:44

    Stop, Speak, Support - Cyberbullying Prevention Campaign Launches Today

    Duke of Cambridge Launches National Action Plan to Tackle Cyberbullying

    Stop Speak Support Logo
  • The Royal Foundation brought together the UKs largest media and technology firms to deliver first ever internet code of conduct – 'Stop, Speak, Support'.
  • The Duke's national campaign seeks to reach every 11-16 year old in Britain, to empower them to stop cyberbullying, to speak out and seek support.
  • The Taskforce has prompted unprecedented action from some of the most popular social media and gaming companies to commit to further action to support and protect young people online.
  • Today, Thursday, The Duke of Cambridge will unveil an Action Plan created by The Royal Foundation's Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, and launch an online code of conduct called 'Stop, Speak, Support'. These initiatives will put the UK on the path to become the global leader in supporting young people online.

    His Royal Highness brought together some of the world's most recognisable names in media and tech, as well as children's charities and parents, to work alongside a panel of young people to find ways to tackle cyberbullying. Together they set themselves the task of creating a safer and more supportive life online.

    The internet has opened our world to exciting opportunities, giving young people a view of the world their parents could only dream of. But with it has come a new ferocity to bullying that can follow a child wherever they go. Cyberbullying is a serious threat to happy, healthy childhoods and in the most serious cases can ruin lives.

    After more than 18 months of work, the Taskforce has created an Action Plan which is designed to kick-start a new approach to support young people when they are using social media and gaming platforms. Chaired by tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman CBE, the Taskforce members include: The Anti-Bullying Alliance; Apple; BT; The Diana Award; EE; Facebook; Google; Internet Matters; NSPCC; O2; Sky; Snapchat; Supercell; TalkTalk; Twitter; Vodafone and Virgin Media.

    Stop Speak Support Character 1The Action Plan includes:

  • The UK will today become the first country in the world to launch a national, youth-led, code of conduct for the internet - 'Stop, Speak, Support'.
  • For the first time ever the world's biggest social media firms are adapting their platforms to provide direct access to support when bullying strikes. Facebook and Snapchat have worked with the NSPCC to create new functions that will be trialled among groups of young people. If successful, The Duke hopes it can become a global blueprint.
  • A major new commitment to design 'Safety Guidelines' has been agreed by the social media and gaming firms in the Taskforce, as well as creating a new compliance process, with the sole drive to commit all platforms to keeping children and young people safe.
  • Taskforce members are building a universal strategy for information, ensuring all online resources for support and help – whether aimed at young people or parents – are high quality, reliable and have common themes.
  • Brent Hoberman, Taskforce Chair, said: "Under The Royal Foundation the industry has come together for the first time to design a comprehensive Action Plan to address the important issue of cyberbullying.

    "This Action Plan is the first step in positioning the UK as a global leader in this area and we are looking forward to the industry building upon this vital work.

    "Working together, we are now much closer to our ambition of making life online safer for young adults."

    Baroness Dido Harding, former CEO of Talk Talk and independent advisor to the Taskforce said: “The Taskforce has simultaneously demonstrated how powerful it can be when the whole tech industry works together but also how hard it is to deliver real change.

    "The emotional support pilot and national campaign are significant steps forward but we are a long way from delivering what children themselves are asking for so that the design and functionality of social media platforms meets their safety needs. Whilst celebrating the steps forward, we should see this as a step in the right direction rather than the end of the journey”

    Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive and Taskforce Charity Partner, said: “We know it can be very difficult for young people being bullied online or in person to tell someone what’s happening to them. Many are simply too scared to speak out or they believe somehow that it’s their fault.

    “By helping to create the ‘Stop, Speak, Support’ campaign with the Royal Taskforce and our young volunteers - some who have experienced cyberbullying themselves - we are empowering young people to support their friends who are being bullied online.

    “‘Stop, Speak, Support’ provides simple steps for children and teenagers who witness cyberbullying to follow, with an emphasis on encouraging their peers to speak out and seek help from either a trusted adult or Childline, because bullying doesn’t go away on its own.”

    Stop, Speak, Support – The Code of Conduct Campaign

    Stop Speak Support Character 3The Duke of Cambridge believes that our largest social media, technology, gaming, communication service providers and media companies have a positive opportunity to create the solution to support our children online, and to help children feel empowered to question online behaviour, speak out and support their friends.

    All young people should feel able to look out for their friends, to stop the bullies, to speak out and to get support. The young people on the Taskforce said they had rules and guides for every part of their life – but not online. This is the 'green cross code' for the web.

    The Stop, Speak Support code includes:


  • Action 1: Take time out before getting involved, and don’t share or like negative comments.
  • Action 2: Try and get an overview of what’s really going on.
  • Action 3: Check the community guidelines for the site you’re on.

  • Action 1: Ask an adult or friend that you can trust for advice.
  • Action 2: Use the report button for the social media it’s happening on.
  • Action 3: Speak to one of the charities set up to help with situations like this, such as Childline.

  • Action 1: Give the person being bullied a supportive message to let them know they’re not alone.
  • Action 2: Encourage the person being bullied to talk to someone they can trust.
  • Action 3: Give the person being bullied a positive distraction from the situation.
  • The promotional campaign to highlight the code will run for three months until 'Safer Internet Day', and seeks to reach every single 11-16 year old in this country. The aim is to empower all young people to take a stand against bullying.

    For more information visit Stop Speak Support Logo

    Written by Internet Matters on November 16, 2017 12:15

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