Adam Barkes, Associate Director of Education, Youth & Sport, Stonewall
“For many LGBTQ+ children and young people, and their families, the internet is a lifeline: it’s a place where they can find information, access support services and see examples of LGBTQ+ role models. For lots of LGBTQ+ young people, the internet may be the first place where they feel safe to explore who they are. The impact of positive representation can be huge for LGBTQ+ young people. As one of the young people interviewed for our School Report in 2017 said, ‘Seeing healthy and positive LGBT people on the internet saved my life’.
However, we know there can be harms involved in living our lives online – and LGBTQ+ young people are particularly vulnerable in this respect. As Stonewall and Childnet’s Staying Safe Online guide points out, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language is rife, with 97% of LGBT+ young people having seen HBT content online.
Initiatives like Safer Internet Day play a vital role in improving LGBTQ+ children and young people’s online experiences. By helping children and young people understand how to keep themselves and each other safe online, Safer Internet Day helps all of us create a world where LGBTQ+ children and young people feel safe, seen and heard in all aspects of their lives.”