SWGfL and Internet Matters Launch Inclusive Digital Safety Hub

14 Dec 2020 Andy Robinson

Our partners SWGfL have launched the new Inclusive Digital Safety Hub with Internet Matters earlier this year. This new resource will equip and empower professionals, parents and carers who support vulnerable children to have meaningful conversations about online life.

Not only is the hub the first of its kind but it will include a bespoke version of the ‘So You Got Naked Online…’ resource to support SEND children and an online forum for professionals. This forum will enable them to share their situation and obtain feedback and comments from their peers. The hub will also include targeted resources and guidance that have been specifically designed for adults supporting children with SEND, in minority groups, or those who have experience being in care.

The hub was launched by the Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins, MP and will be an essential tool for the future in keeping online safety a number one priority.

Why use the Inclusive Digital Safety Hub?

The impact of lockdown has shown a noticeable increase in demand for resources that support parents and professionals working with children who have vulnerabilities. Our helplines who work to support these individuals have also seen a higher demand for such help.

Of the calls that the UK Safer Internet Centre Helpline manages, a significant proportion relate to sexting incidents from those working with SEND children. Reports such as these is why a bespoke version of ‘So you got Naked Online’ was created. The aim is to provide accessible information to help support young people with particular vulnerabilities in the event that they have shared intimate images and are unsure of what to do.

There has never been a more important time to provide professionals surrounding vulnerable young people with evidenced based, usable advice and insight that can support them for the future.

A report** by Internet Matters revealed it is possible to predict online risks that different groups of vulnerable children may face online. This includes pressure to send intimate images, greater experience of cyberbullying and cyber scams, as well as repeated exposure to content promoting self-harm, anorexia and suicide.

More than two million children are considered to be the most vulnerable in England – including those with physical or mental health needs. These children face becoming ‘lost in digital space’ if the right support is not given, according to Internet Matters’ Vulnerable Children in a Digital World’ 

David Wright, Director of UK Safer Internet Centre, said: “The internet has transformed how young people learn, socialise and communicate – but sadly it also brings new dangers, such as online grooming, cyberbullying and peer pressure. These risks are even more prevalent for vulnerable children

“We know offline vulnerabilities allow us to predict the online risks children face.  Prediction allows for intervention and prevention, but only if responsible adults have the tools to do this.

“This is why we’ve partnered with Internet Matters. We wanted to create the first-ever online hub to provide adults with the digital education skills to intervene, preventing risk from becoming harmful to vulnerable children.”

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