UK Safer Internet Centre 'Safer Internet Day' Press Release

05 Feb 2013 UK SIC

24,000 youth declare their online rights and responsibilities for Safer Internet Day

  • Primary and secondary children call for the right to feel safe
  • People being unkind is the main thing that stops young people enjoying their time on the internet
  • 34% of young people have come into contact with content that upsets or worries them online
  • Calls on need for holistic approach to internet safety from industry, educators and families

24,000 school children have set out their vision for how to make the internet a safer and more enjoyable place, as part of the largest schools survey about internet safety conducted in the UK.

The ‘Have Your Say’ research, commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre to mark the 10th Anniversary of Safer Internet Day on 5th February 2013, asked primary school (7-11s) and secondary school (11-19s) children what they enjoy most about the internet, as well as the aspects of being online that they find concerning. It highlights where children already play a role in enjoying the internet safely and responsibly and uncovers opportunities to provide them with greater support.

The findings offer a valuable insight for how government, educators, families and the internet industry can work towards a safer internet future. They will be presented to government and industry stakeholders by children who took part in the survey at a Safer Internet Day Celebration event in London later today.

A road-map for a safer internet future – key findings

1. Primary age children are highly engaged with digital technology:

The majority of 7-11s [1] (86%) use some form of online communication tool [2]. Most 7-11s (94%) say they have little trouble finding information for their school work on the internet.

2. Secondary age children are prolific online communicators:

96% of young people age 11-19 use some form of online communication tool [3].

3. Seeing unpleasant or hurtful things online affects a sizeable portion of this group:

27% of 7-11s and 41% of 11-19s came into contact with something online in the last twelve months that they deemed to be hurtful or unpleasant –  examples cited include: scary videos, pictures and chainmail; ‘rude’ things and swearing; violent films or games.

4. Young people’s exposure to ‘mean comments’ hinders their enjoyment online:

31% of 7-11s and 23% of 11-19s cited gossip or mean comments being shared online as something that stopped them enjoying their time online.

5. Young people simply want the right to feel safe online:

This is the most important internet right for children of all ages, selected by over half (57%) of the primary age group and by nearly two-thirds (63%) of secondary age pupils [4].

6. Privacy settings are welcomed and used by young people, but knowledge could be improved:

58% of 7-11s and 74% of 11-19s using social networks said they changed their privacy settings from the default settings.

However, over 4 in 10 (42%) primary age social network users and almost 1 in 10 (9%) secondary age social network users were not sure if they had changed the settings or didn’t know how to.

7. Young people want online tools to help them manage reporting concerns:

Whilst the vast majority are aware that reporting tools are available to them [5], 1 in 5 (20%) 7-11 year old social network users and 1 in 6 (16%) 11-19 year old social network users faced barriers in reporting.

Although among socials network users, 36% of 7-11s and 24% of 11-19s said they have reported something online.

8. Young people develop strong safety support networks amongst their peers:

32% of 7-11s and over half (53%) of 11-19s would tell a friend if something upset or worried them online.

Among primary school students who knew someone who had been cyberbullied (40%), 48% of this group had helped their friend.

9. Parents also play a pivotal support role, particularly to primary school children:

Four-fifths (79%) of 7-11s and two thirds (66%) of 11-19s said they would tell their parent or carer if something worried them online [6].

10. There is appetite, at all ages, for greater levels of education about internet safety:

80% of 7-19s said they had been taught about staying safe online in the last year.

However, over a third (35%) of 7 year olds and almost half (45%) of 16-19s say they have not been taught about staying safe online.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families said: “We know how important it is that young people are safe and supported while using the internet, and that parents are confident their children are protected from accessing harmful content.

“We have already taken great strides to make internet access more family friendly and we will continue to work with the industry, parents and young people to build an even safer internet in the future.”

Will Gardner, Chief Spokesperson for the UK Safer Internet Centre, said: “In our research young people clearly stated that they should have the right to feel safe online and they also recognise they have a responsibility in helping themselves and others be safe online, whether that’s behaving kindly towards others or helping friends who are experiencing problems.

“We are delighted that so many young people have taken the opportunity of the survey to get their voice heard, and we hope it will act as a catalyst for encouraging individuals, families and companies to think about their role in ensuring the Internet is a great and safe place for children.”

He continued: “Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity for everyone to take a moment and reflect on how they are using technology, and this year to see if they are ‘Connecting with Respect’. This year we can see a fantastically wide range of activities taking place and resources made available to support the Day by schools, companies, charities and more, all supporting the importance of helping children be safe online and helping those supporting children with this issue.“

Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children’s said: “The BBC are once again delighted to be working in partnership with the UK Safer Internet Centre to support Safer Internet Day. With content across a range of BBC channels and brands, the BBC’s Share Take Care campaign is designed to help everybody, from young children to teenagers to their parents, to connect with respect. There are some wonderful CBBC sound-alike music videos for our younger audiences while Radio 1 uses its own mix of on-air content and social media to help teenagers make better choices online. Parents too are well catered for with advice and tips about parental tools and films from BBC Learning highlighting the risks of over-sharing for all the family.”

Lucy Woodward, Director of Disney’s Club Penguin, EMEA, said: “Safety is really important to the team at Club Penguin. Our founders were three dads looking for a safe place online, where their kids could have plenty of fun and that’s really what Safer Internet Day is all about:  making sure the internet is a place we can all use to learn, have fun, make friends and above all, feel safe.”

This year’s Safer Internet Day which focuses on the theme, “Connect with Respect” will bring together hundreds of high-profile partners to host free events and provide free resources and programmes, both on and offline. Partners include the BBC; CEOP; Facebook; Google; Disney; Mumsnet; Sky; Microsoft; the Industry Trust; BPI and many others. A full list of partners and what they are doing to support Safer Internet Day is available on the UK Safer Internet Centre website.

The UK Safer Internet Centre, which co-ordinates Safer Internet Day in the UK, has also launched a number of online resources for teachers, parents and carers, which are available to access for free from the UK Safer Internet Centre website. They include:

  • Connect with Respect Quiz – To help families test out their internet safety know-how, this online quiz covers issues related to being safe, responsible and respectful on social networks, online entertainment sites, gaming sites and mobiles. It provides users with an Internet Safety score and top tips on how to discover the digital world safely and responsibly
  • Safer Internet Radio – A 12-hour radio broadcast will be hosted on the site throughout Safer Internet Day to help listeners share their inspiring stories and words of advice around popular online safety issues
  • Conversation starters – There are five conversation starters to help families discuss online behaviour together

Top Online Rights and Responsibilities – as voted for by young people

1. I should feel safe and enjoy being on the internet

2. I should be able to tell someone if something has worried me on the internet

3. I should not be bullied on the internet, and should not bully others

4. I should help my friends stay safe on the internet

5. I should be able to report anything that worries me on the internet

6. I should be able to talk and play on the internet with my friends

7. I shouldn’t have to see unpleasant or hurtful things on the internet

8. I should know how to keep my personal information safe

9. I should be able to easily search the internet for information

10. I should learn how to stay safe on the internet

1. I should feel safe online

2. I should not be bullied online, and should not bully others

3. I should be able to access films, music and TV online, but it is my responsibility to respect copyright law

4. I should support my friends if they need help online

5. I shouldn’t have to see unpleasant or hurtful content and I should know what to do if I come across it

6. There should be lots of websites that are interesting for people my age

7. I should be able to manage who can see the content I post online

8. The websites I use should have an easy and effective way of reporting

9. I should know what I can and can’t do online and understand that there are legal and offline consequences

10. I should be educated about staying safe online

Supporter quotes

Adam Liversage, Director of Communications at the BPI: “We know that many parents feel their children know more than they do when it comes to their internet activities.  The Connect with Respect Quiz is a great tool for helping families to put their digital know-how to the test. It includes helpful tips on social networking and internet gaming as well as how to enjoy music legally online, directing parents to resources to find helpful, relevant information on these subject areas.”

Lucy Woodward, Director of Disney’s Club Penguin, EMEA, said: “Safety is really important to the team at Club Penguin. Our founders were three dads looking for a safe place online, where their kids could have plenty of fun and that’s really what Safer Internet Day is all about:  making sure the internet is a place we can all use to learn, have fun, make friends and above all, feel safe. We know parents and kids need support in navigating the online world and we wanted to provide that support online, on TV, in our stores and in our magazines.  Working with the experts at Childnet and CEOP, as well with familiar faces like Ella and much-loved Disney characters we knew we could create a program that would really connect.”

Simon Milner, Director of Policy, UK and Ireland, Facebook said: “Safer Internet Day is a great moment to remind all internet users, including those on Facebook to connect with respect.  It’s important to encourage people to think about how they are respecting themselves and controlling their privacy, and also what the impact of their comments and posts could be on others.”

Graham Walker CEO Go ON UK said: “Innovation in technology, from mobile to touch, is making the internet more accessible than ever before.  As the web is opened up to millions of new people it is vital we work together to embed safety into everything we do.  Go ON UK and its Founder Partners are backing Safer Internet Day, and supporting those without Basic Online Skills.  Bringing together the content, tools and knowledge required to interact safely online will ensure that everyone – no matter what their age – can enjoy the many benefits of the internet.”

Liz Bales, Director General of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness: “Our own research shows that many children and parents are confused about whether the content they are accessing is legal or not, and are concerned about the associated safety and security risks of using unofficial websites. We’re delighted to be supporting Safer Internet Day through the Connect With Respect Quiz, which aims to tackle this confusion by directing families to a wealth of convenient and affordable official services for great film, TV and video at the click of a button.”

Hugh Milward, Director of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft said: “Ever younger children are living online, because it opens up an amazing window into the wider world. And when they are, they should have the same right to be as safe as they do when they are at home or at school. As we consider online rights and responsibilities it is important that we take into account the voice of young people in that conversation, because it is they who have so much to gain. We are delighted supporting the fantastic work of the UK Safer Internet Centre by hosting the Safer Internet Day Celebration at our London offices as well as the SID Live radio show today.” 

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO and Co-Founder said: “Internet safety is a real concern for parents, with lots of discussion on Mumsnet from parents who want their children to enjoy the social and educational aspects of the internet, but are concerned about them being safe. It’s important for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children about online safety, rather than relying on technology as some kind of silver bullet to protect them on the net. So we welcome Safer Internet Day’s campaign to raise awareness and help parents to get talking about how to be safe online.”

Patrick Guthrie, Director of Strategy and Communications, PhonepayPlus said: “Safer Internet Day is a really important opportunity to encourage children and young people to connect with respect and to think about how they are able to play a part in keeping themselves safe when using internet enabled technologies. At PhonepayPlus we are really pleased to have worked with the UK Safer Internet Centre and supported the creation of the ‘Safer Internet Day Connect with Respect’ quiz.  Our hope is that taking this quiz today will help all users understand the costs involved with smartphones and other connected devices and inspire users to connect with respect and confidence when they enjoy digital content.”

Simon Barry, Argos Trading Manager for Technology, said: “We know that protecting our children on the internet is all about having the right kind of software in place as well as having ongoing conversations with young people themselves. For this reason, being able to put the Safe Kids Online software in parents’ hands for FREE was a crucial move for us at Argos. By giving parents the knowledge and tools to manage risks online, we’re helping them keep their children safe.” 

To view the Have Your Say research report in full, or for further information visit the Safer Internet Centre website:


For media enquiries please contact Laura Hegarty, David Whitehead or Claire Lundie at Blue Rubicon on 020 7260

Notes to editors

Have Your Say survey, 24,000 young people aged 7-19 across the UK

The Safer Internet Day 2013 ‘Have your Say’ survey is the UK’s largest ever study of young people’s attitudes toward online rights and responsibilities. It was designed to help the UK Safer Internet Centre understand children and young people’s online experiences and how these inform their opinions on the roles they, as well as parents, government, industry and educators, have in ensuring everyone is safe online. The surveys with primary and secondary pupils collected the views of over 24,000 young people age 7-19 from across the UK. Each were presented with a number of rights and responsibilities, and asked to vote on the ones they felt most important. This has produced the top ten rights and responsibilities primary and secondary charters representing the views of young people across the country. In order to explore the survey’s findings the results have been discussed in targeted focus groups with 90 young people from across the UK.

Safer Internet Day 2013

Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre in February of each year to promote safe responsible use of online technology and mobile phones for children and young people. Safer Internet Day 2013 – the tenth edition of the event – will take place on Tuesday 5th February 2013, with the theme of Online Rights and Responsibilities, encouraging users to “Connect with Respect”.

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charitable organisations, Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). These organisations are committed to working to make a safer and better internet. All partners recognise the unparalleled opportunities the internet offers and actively encourage its positive use for social, leisure, economic and educational advancement. The partners all work towards the Childnet target; to make the Internet a great and safe place for children.  The UK Safer Internet Centre is online at

[1] There is a rapid increase in use of technology from 7 to 11 years, with just 5% of 11 year olds not engaging in any form of online communication (compared to 22% of 7 year olds).

[2] Primary: social networks and virtual worlds (56%), chat functions in online gaming (38%) or chatting over a webcam (28%)

[3] Secondary: social networks (74%), emails (72%), instant messaging (68%), webcams (52%), chat functions in online gaming (45%), chat rooms (17%) and blogs (14%).

[4] 57% of 7-11s selected the right to feel safe online in their top three rights.  63% of 11-19s selected the right to feel safe online in their top five rights.

[5] 80% of primary school age children and 84% of secondary age children

[6] The full age cohort breakdowns for this statistic, are: 78% of 11-12s; 58% of 13-15s; 42% of 16-19s

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