Safer Internet Day 2017

Today is Safer Internet Day and this year the theme is 'Be the Change: Unite for a Better Internet'

We’ve put together  a  few things we think we need to be aware of to help create a better internet for young people:

1) We need to realise that a lot of young people use the internet differently to adults and therefore we need to talk to them about what they do online rather than make assumptions if we’re going to protect them better. For example, although Facebook is still widely used by young people, this is mostly  for sharing videos, memes and visual content generally.

2) We need to understand that not all young people will use the same apps and social media networks and this can massively vary between schools but also between friendship groups and year groups. A better understanding of this difference between  groups and individuals could help parents and professionals to feel less overwhelmed when dealing with online risks in the context of the vast growth in apps, social networking sites and webcam services available.

3)  The accessibility of online pornography, in spite of the rise in network level filtering, is inevitably leading to an unrealistic view of sex and relationships. However, it is also likely that  peer pressure, bullying and competition play a large part in leading young people to do things they are not comfortable with for fear of the consequences within  their  social groups. Though we know sex and relationship education (SRE) is not compulsory within schools, we would like to see more parents putting pressure on their children’s schools and more schools generally adopting good quality SRE into their curriculum.

We believe that talking to  young people about healthy relationships, consent and myth busting when it comes to pornography could all help in alleviating some of the pressures young people face in the digital world.

For a greater understanding of digital sexual violence, including exploring different types of digital sexual violence and their prevalence, experiences of those affected online, the law and techniques to help prevent young people becoming victims, please have a look at our one day course Exploring and Responding to Digital Sexual Violence 

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