Looking at the impact of Safer Internet Day 2021 four months on

15 Jun 2021 Becca Cawthorne

Will Gardner OBE, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, looks at the impact Safer Internet Day had four months after the Day, and looks forward to Safer Internet Day 2022.

Impact in schools

Safer Internet Day 2021 was bigger than ever before, reaching 51% of UK children aged 8-17 and 38% of parents and carers. We saw more conversations happening, more downloads of resources and so many young people taking the Safer Internet Day Quiz that it caused the UKSIC Website to crash!

The success of Safer Internet Day couldn’t have been achieved without the amazing work happening in schools and colleges across the country.

This year Safer Internet Day took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures across the UK. This was a difficult time for many, with home learning returning after Christmas and many educators, parents and carers readjusting to a new way of teaching and learning.

On Safer Internet Day 2021 we also launched a brand new research report: An Internet Young People Can Trust. The research, which surveyed over 2,000 young people aged 8-17, revealed that 77% of 8-17s felt being online had been a more important part of their life in 2020 than before. Following these findings, we knew what an important teaching moment Safer Internet Day 2021 would be, and also recognised the need for our resources to be adaptable for use both at home and in the classroom.

We know that Safer Internet Day reached more young people than ever before, but we also saw an impact of this reach whilst taking to both educators and young people themselves. Our research with over 100 teachers and 1,000 young people who took part in the day found that:

  • 85% of young people who heard about the day said they know what to do if they or someone else sees misleading or unreliable content online
  • 84% of teachers agree or strongly agree that Safer Internet Day is a key opportunity to engage parents and carers with online safety
  • 99% of teachers say Safer Internet Day plays a significant role in their school’s online safety provision
  • 83% of teachers said it encourage conversations about safe internet use between parents and the school
  • 91% of teachers said the day helped make pupils more confident about staying safe online
  • 31% of teachers said the day led to disclosures about potential safeguarding issues online

Breaking records

As well as reaching more young people than ever before Safer Internet Day 2021 also broke a Guinness World RecordTM for ‘Most pledges received for an internet safety campaign in 24 hours.’

We couldn’t have achieved this without the hard work of schools across the UK, we saw some amazing statements and 16,372 pledges from young people who worked to create their pledges as part of the day.

Youth voice at the forefront

Members of the UK Safer Internet Centre were also joined by young people to speak to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media regarding the theme of Safer Internet Day and how their school would celebrate the Day.

Why Safer Internet Day is so important

We know how important Safer Internet Day each year is, and what a key moment it is in many organisations’ diary. We asked some industry supporters who celebrated the day about why they think the day is so important: 

Katy Minshall, Head of UK Public Policy at Twitter said: 

“Collaboration with our Safety Partners across the world is vital when it comes to making Twitter safe. We are pleased to have taken part in #SaferInternetDay 2021 by supporting our network of safety partners in amplifying their online safety guidance and providing Ads for Good grants to elevate their voices and support their campaigns. 

Yet again, this year we have seen the conversation come to life on Twitter, with #SaferInternetDay trending throughout the day. 

We will continue to support our safety partners in 2021 and work to ensure that the public conversation on Twitter stays healthy, open and safe.”

Henry Turnbull, Head of Public Policy for the UK & Nordics at Snap

“At Snap we are proud to support Safer Internet Day and the amazing work of Childnet and the UK Safer Internet Centre. It was great to see the fantastic support that was mobilised from across the UK, made even more impressive by the challenges of running the event in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Looking forward to 2022

As planning for Safer Internet Day 2022 starts, we are actively looking to secure funding to help ensure Safer Internet Day 2022 can be provided and keep the momentum going behind the extraordinary opportunity the Day provides. Do get in touch if you want to join those industry providers who are helping to fund the Day.

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