Young people call on government to make the internet a place where all young people are #freetobe themselves

19 Feb 2020 Becca Cawthorne

For Safer Internet Day 2020 we have worked with young people to develop a Young People’s Charteron how government can help make a more inclusive internet where everyone is #freetobe themselves.

Photo: Baroness Nicky Morgan gives her support for the Youth Charter

We designed the youth charter through an online poll of over 2001 children, speaking to 13 children in focus groups, surveying 41 Childnet Digital Leaders and consulting Childnet Digital Champions.

On Safer Internet Day Digital Champions from the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme, met with over 25 MPs to unveil the Young People’s Charter at Westminster. They explained to Ministers that they want help to make the internet a place where all young people are free to be themselves, and to do this Government need to:

  • Provide good quality education about the internet: Government must ensure young people receive regular, good quality education about the internet from an early age. This should include respecting others, navigating technology safely and how to ask for help when something goes wrong. Don’t just tell us what not to do; give us practical ways to use the internet to get the most out of it. Invest in educating our parents and carers on how important technology is to us, as well as how to support and talk to us. Provide education for wider society on these topics, as well as other challenges we may face online.
  • Protect equal rights and opportunities online and offline: Everyone should feel that they are welcome, celebrated, fairly represented and given a safe space to be themselves online. In the last month, 4 in 10 UK young people have seen people bullying or attacking someone online because of their sexuality, race, religion, disability or gender identity. But this isn’t just an online issue. Government should ensure all children are given equal rights online and offline.
  • Establish better protection and accountability: The services we use must think about the pressures and risks they create when designing and creating a public platform, and be held to account. Government must ensure companies are creating services that are appropriate for all users and be clear and transparent on the action they take when people are targeted online. It’s our right to have access to the internet – but it’s also our right for it to be safe and positive.
  • Give young people the space and power to create change: We want to be part of the solution. Give us the opportunity to have our say, whether at parent’s evenings or at national meetings on online issues. We want to lead by example and be the change we wish to see. It’s our future – we want to help make an internet where everyone is #freetobe themselves.​

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