Young people give their experiences of online consent.

15 Apr 2019 Becca Cawthorne

Childnet, a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre,  recently launched a brand new range of resources as part of the ‘Step Up, Speak Up’ toolkit, these resources were shaped by young people and look at the issue of peer based online sexual harassment. The deSHAME Youth Advisory Board is made up of 10 young people from across the UK who have a passion for making the online world a safe and positive space, free from online sexual harassment.

Safer Internet Day 2019 centred around the theme of consent online, so we asked the Youth Advisory Board for their experiences of online consent, and why they thought education around this was important.

Ishaa, 16 years old, Manchester

 When my friend did this, I felt sorry for her really. It’s an easy mistake to make, and people assume that if you’re friends, you won’t mind photos being shared. 

At what point do we draw the line? Do we ask our friends for permission every time we post a specific photo, or do we assume that friendship dictates the rules of our ‘gram game?

 Understandably, it can be VERY difficult to say no to someone posting your photo. You feel like the odd one out, while everyone else doesn’t seem to have an issue with it. At the end of the day, it’s your decision and yours alone. Sadly, a lot of people don’t have the confidence to say no, which is where issues start to rise.

Harry, 16 years old, Hampshire

When it comes to friends sharing things about someone online, I think that if there are any doubts that they may not want it online, you should definitely check with them first. You are also equally responsible for thinking about, for example, if a group photo is taking place, whether you want to be in it as it is most likely going to be shared online.

It can be difficult to say no to a friend posting something about/including you. This is because there’s a conflict in opinion. One of you wants it to be published and the other doesn’t. It is two-fold. If you know that (let’s use our example earlier) you don’t want to be in a photo that will be shared, just simply don’t be in the photo. It is also the friend’s responsibility to make sure that they don’t force you into a photo. To be completely satisfied, it’s worth checking with the friend to make sure they’re comfortable with what you’re going to post, if you think it may cause embarrassment or if you think it may not be wanted online.

Charlie, 15 years old, Nottingham

Talking about consent online is key, it makes people take a step back and think about being in the other person’s shoes on how they would feel if a video or image of them was shared on social media.

I think that it is important to bring the family together on this subject and give them the information needed so that they know what consent is and when to ask for it. This helps the family build a comfortable space where they can discuss the picture someone wants to put up or the pictures that are already up. For example,  asking a parent to take down a photo that the child isn’t comfortable having on social media for many people to see.

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