Facebook announces new partnership with the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme

16 Oct 2017 Becca Cawthorne

Childnet is teaming up with Facebook and the Diana Award to deliver a project that will see thousands of young people across the UK trained as peer educators. 

This support from Facebook will enable us to grow the reach and impact of our Childnet Digital Leaders Programme, which we deliver as part of our work in the UK Safer Internet Centre – a partnership of three leading charities, Childnet, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) – with a shared mission to make the internet a better place for children and young people.

Putting young people at the heart of online safety

Our pupil-powered online safety programme empowers young people to be Digital Leaders so they can educate their peers, parents and teachers about staying safe online.

With interactive training and an exciting online community, the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme helps schools put young people at the heart of their whole-school approach and ensures internet safety learning is fun and effective.

Poppy, a Childnet Digital Leader from Wath Comprehensive School in Rotherham, said:

“I have really enjoyed being a Digital Leader. It has given me confidence in what I can achieve for both the school and myself.  The most enjoyable part of the programme is planning events or creating posters, as you know that you’re making a difference within the school and wider community.  Over the two years that I have had this role, I have noticed positive changes around the school.  It feels like we have made the school a better place, and I know we will continue to do so in the future.”

Growing the reach and impact of the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme

Since launching in 2016 the programme has reached primary and secondary schools across the UK, demonstrating how trained peer educators can achieve a real impact within their school communities. This new partnership will enable us to train thousands more young people as Digital Leaders and offer exciting new opportunities to schools involved.

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:

“We’re excited about the beginning of this new partnership with Facebook and The Diana Award to reach even more schools across the UK. We launched the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme two years ago as part of our work in the UK Safer Internet Centre, with support from Facebook and the European Commission. Since then we have trained thousands of peer educators in schools across the UK using our innovative digital platform and we are constantly inspired by the amazing activities they deliver to make a really positive difference in their school communities. This new partnership will enable us to grow the reach and impact of the programme – offering exciting new opportunities for schools involved in the programme and empowering many more young people to become Digital Leaders and inspire their peers to use technology safely and positively.”

The announcement comes as the Government’s Internet Safety Strategy highlights the ‘vital’ role that peer education can play in making the UK the safest place to be online.

To celebrate the launch, Childnet Digital Leaders from across the UK are participating in ‘House of Us’ an immersive online safety experience in London organised by Facebook.

Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety Policy at Facebook said:

“This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities. Over the last decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative resources on Facebook that enable young people to look after themselves and their peers, from our updated Safety Centre, to our online reporting tools. By offering trained digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school we are now taking this commitment offline too.

She continued:

“Our immersive House of Us experience to launch the new partnership has been created with young people for young people. It aims to bring UK school children together to explore online safety issues in the real world in a safe, supportive environment. We look forward to getting feedback and input from young participants that can add even more peer-led ideas to the programmes in the months to come.”

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