Introducing GOSH – A Resource for University Students
The UK Safer Internet Centre helplines (Professionals Online Safety Helpline + Report Harmful Content) along with the Revenge Porn Helpline have launched a new resource focusing on ‘Good Online Sexual Health’ (GOSH) for university students. Information on the three helplines are:
- The Professionals Online Safety Helpline (POSH) is a helpline dedicated to providing support for those professionals working with children and young people in the UK with any online issue they may be facing around safeguarding. Find out more here saferinternet.org.uk/helpline/professionals-online-safety-helpline
- The Revenge Porn Helpline (RPH) supports all adult victims of intimate image abuse living in the UK. They provide essential advice and assist victims with reporting private sexual content shared without consent online. You can find more information here revengepornhelpline.org.uk/
- Report Harmful Content is an online platform to help anyone over the age of 13 to report legal but harmful content online. They provide a reporting function as well as advice on their website around reporting on some of the most common social platforms. You can find more information about their service on their website reportharmfulcontent.com/
Online Safety for Universities
‘Online safety’ is a huge topic and a big theme in many schools. There are lots of resources for schools to choose from including ways to present it in their curriculum and appropriate criteria for Ofsted checks. As many young people leave school and move on to the next stage of their education, it can sometimes feel there is a somewhat assumption that online safety is now all figured out for young people. From the work on the helplines, and the reports and cases we have seen across the board, we know that this often isn’t the case. We see a ‘need’ to continue having these important conversations with university students. We especially see the need for those in first years who may see themselves away from home for the first time and could be potentially more vulnerable to online harm than ever before.
In 2019, the helplines launched a collaborative resource for the first time, aimed at university students. It followed University UK’s (UUK) report on tackling online abuse. You can find this resource here
The New GOSH Resource
We have now launched a new resource that focuses on ‘Good Online Sexual Health’ (GOSH). We created this for a number of different reasons. Through research, we identified that there was a real need for more information such as this and more education needed around sexual health online.
The GOSH resource is about online sexual health, aiming to provide university students with a more better understanding of their own online sexual health. GOSH focuses on the online world as opposed to other resources and aims to give ‘university students and other young adults a better understanding of online sexual health’. There’s also information about how to have a healthy relationship relating to their own online sexual health. We know on the helplines that practicing good sexual health is often encouraged throughout a young person’s life. This can be both on and off campus and we thought it was important to reflect this in the online world.
The resource is available on our Instagram page. It includes advice and posts which can then be shared across multiple platforms. The content can then be shared with others across social media.
What Does GOSH Include?
The resource is presented as a short video guide which is broken down into five main sections.
- Awareness of the risks and consequences of certain online behaviours. As well as awareness of how to overcome and minimise these risks, optimising safety and wellbeing of users.
- Check-ups – checking for viruses, scams and other things that may compromise safety online and how to set these up.
- Trusting your instincts in situations where someone may not necessarily feel comfortable. This section is more about understanding your own boundaries, other people’s boundaries and what to do if you do not feel comfortable in a situation.
- Honesty with yourself and your online sexual partners or those you interact with online. This section focuses on having open and honest conversations with your online sexual partners about a range of issues or subjects. For example, storing your partner’s content when exchanging nudes and what would happen if you parted ways.
- Consent – like offline sex, consent is always important. This section explores the definition of consent legally and more generally.
We hope this resource will help university students open up conversations around ‘Good online Sexual Health’