Young people take the lead in nationwide Safer Internet Day campaign

10 Feb 2015 UK SIC
  • 30% of 11-16-year-olds experienced someone being mean to them online in the last year
  • But 3 in 4 believe young people have the power to create a kinder online community
  • New #Up2Us film tells of their internet experiences

[10th February 2015] Young people across the UK are joining together to create a kinder online community today, Safer Internet Day 2015, as a new study into Friendship in a Digital Age reveals that 30% of young people have been on the receiving end of mean online behaviour in the past year.

The research comes as official organisers of the day, the UK Safer Internet Centre, launch #Up2Us, a new film made by over 150 schoolchildren about their online experiences – both good and bad – with the aim of inspiring young people across the UK to do something kind online this Safer Internet Day. The film will be premiered at events across the UK today, attended by government Ministers and young people.

Celebrities, including young stars such as Britain’s Got Talent finalists Bars and Melody, and Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, have backed the campaign. Beth and other celebrities feature on Safer Internet Day TV, which is hosted by CBBC Friday Download presenters Molly and Harvey, and will be available online today from 11am and 2pm, with a social media takeover by Bars and Melody at 8pm.

They join hundreds supporting the #SID2015 social media campaign to ‘share a smile online’, which is set to reach over 1.5 million in a mass tweet at 8am today, along with over 800 organisations that have pledged their support for Safer Internet Day 2015. High profile partners including the BBC, CEOP, Disney, the FA, Facebook, Google, Lloyds Banking Group, Microsoft, NSPCC, Twitter and the UK Government, as well as hundreds of schools and other organisations, are all coming together to deliver a range of inspiring activities across the UK.

Friendship in a Digital Age

According to the online study of more than a thousand 11-16-year-olds conducted by ResearchBods, more than three quarters (78%) believe that young people have the power to create a kinder online community. The majority (88%) of the young people questioned say they always try to be kind in their online interactions.

The study reveals the huge role that technology plays in supporting young people’s friendships, with over half (55%) saying they interact online with their closest friends several times an hour and 63% saying they are closer to their friends because of the internet. Reassuringly the internet is a positive place for the majority of young people surveyed. When questioned about their time spent on social networks and messaging apps, the majority of 11-16s (63%) felt that people were kind to them on the internet most of the time.

However, some young people face negative experiences online. Almost a third (30%) of young people said that someone had been mean to them in the last year, with 1 in 20 (5%) saying that people were mean to them most of the time on the internet.

Many of these young people are taking positive steps to tackle these negative experiences, with three-quarters (75%) of young people who experienced mean behaviour saying they have blocked someone in the last year, while 68% said they have supported someone else who was being targeted online.  More positively, 64% of young people said they felt able to cope with anything negative that might happen online and 81% said they know what to do if someone is abusive towards them online.

An additional survey of UK adults by ComRes demonstrates that this isn’t just an issue for children. 45% of adults who use social networking and messaging apps said they occasionally see people on their social networks and messaging apps posting unkind, negative or upsetting content. People sharing gossip and rumours has occurred for three quarters (72%) of adults using social networking and messaging apps, while around three in five (59%) have experienced people posting things that attack a certain group (e.g. racist, sexist or homophobic comments).   

That’s why everyone is being encouraged to play their part in creating a better internet.

Will Gardner, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:

“It’s heartening to hear that the majority of young people are finding the internet a positive place on the whole, but there’s more to be done to make sure that’s the experience for everyone. We’re encouraging everyone to take action today – whether that’s sharing a smiley face or making a promise about your online behaviour. It really is up to us to make the internet a better place.”

For more information on the activities taking place to celebrate Safer Internet Day, visit the UK Safer Internet Centre website.


Media contacts

For media enquiries, please contact Claire Lundie or Anna Claydon at Blue Rubicon: / 020 7260 2700 / 07912 553 314


  • ResearchBods interviewed 1,004 young people aged 11-16 between the 5th and 11th January 2015. The data is representative of 11-16 year olds in the UK and ResearchBods are a registered member of Market Research Society.
  • ComRes interviewed 1,445 adults online between the 14th and 15th January 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

About Safer Internet Day:

Safer Internet Day 2015 will be celebrated globally on Tuesday 10th February with the theme ‘Let’s create a better internet together’.

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centrethe celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. For SID2014, over 650 organisations got involved, reaching 25% of children and 18% of teenagers.

The UK Safer Internet Centre – a partnership of three leading charities; Childnet, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation – provide resources for children, schools and families, and tools for getting involved at

Globally, Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over a hundred countries, coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and 31 national Safer Internet Centres across Europe.

The day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community. It calls upon young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers, and wider, to join together in helping to create a better internet. Ultimately, a better internet is up to us!

Safer Internet Day TV

#Up2Us Film and Premieres

On 10th February the UK Safer Internet Centre is launching a youth film, #Up2Us, which has been filmed by over 150 schoolchildren from across the UK. The film will be premiered at an event at Microsoft’s head offices in London, with a youth discussion chaired by young stars Molly and Harvey from CBBC’s Friday Download. Key speakers at the event will be Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy and Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minister. The #Up2Us film will also be premiered in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland at the schools involved in the filming, attended by Ministers from the respective devolved governments.

Celebrity support

Celebrities adding their support to the day include the Disney Channel’s Zendaya; Britain’s Got Talent duo Bars and Melody; Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle; dance groups Diversity and Original Kidz; CBBC Friday Download presenters and pop stars Molly Rainford and Harvey Cantwell; EastEnders cast members Anna Acton, Rakhee Thakrar and Danny-Boy Hatchard; vlogger twins Niki and Sammy Albon; and X Factor teen stars Emily Middlemas and Jordi Whitworth. Find out more at SID Stars.

Useful resources

Quotes from Safer Internet Day supporters

Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary and Minster for Women and Equalities, said: 

“We know that the bullying and harassment of women and girls online in particular is a problem and, if ignored could create an internet that was not seen as a safe place for everyone.

“The work of the Safer Internet Centre is vital in ensuring that girls know how to remain safe when using the internet and how to tackle harassment online. Safer Internet Day plays a major role in providing children with the tools they need to keep themselves safe when using the internet and strengthens their understanding of appropriate behaviour online.”

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many companies, organisations and schools all joining together to make the internet a safer and friendlier place for everyone. The #Up2Us film provides a thoughtful insight into the way in which the internet can, and does, affect UK children. It will act as a catalyst to inspire viewers, old and young alike, to do something kind online this Safer Internet Day.”

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said

“Thousands fewer pupils are being bullied than a decade ago thanks to the hard work of teachers, parents and charities. But no child should have to face being insulted or abused online and Safer Internet Day is a vial initiative in ensuring young people learn to use the internet appropriately. From this term children from the age of five are learning how to say safe online as part of the new curriculum and we’ve published advice to parents on how to spot the tell-tale signs of when their child is being bullied online, and the steps they can take to tackle it.”

Baroness Shields, Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister:

“The internet is one of the most powerful creations in human history, but it is vital that we have a safe digital environment where young people feel confident and comfortable to go online. One of my main priorities working in government has been tackling child exploitation online and this is something that I know we can all help fight together. It’s amazing to see so many people coming together to support Safer Internet Day and I hope the campaign continues to inspire people to make the internet a kinder and safer place.”

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said:

“The internet is an ever present part of a young person’s life. It’s a fantastic source of education and entertainment; it makes the world a much smaller place by improving communication across the globe. While we actively encourage young people to embrace the internet’s huge potential, it’s vitally important they are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to do it safely and responsibly. It’s for that reason, we’re once again delighted to support Safer Internet Day and I encourage people across the UK to spread the message – let’s create a better internet together.”

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell MLA, Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland Executive, said:

“As the use of the internet becomes second nature to our children and young people, so too must they be equipped with the tools to stay safe online.  We all have a role to play, whether young people, parents, carers, educators, the internet industry or government.

“I am regularly impressed by the confidence of children and young people online. It is important that we harness that confidence and help them understand the positive actions they can take to protect themselves and treat others with respect when using the internet.”

Junior Minister Jennifer McCann MLA, Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland Executive, said:

“Safer Internet Day 2015 reminds us all of the responsibility we have in making the internet a better place.  The use of the internet is now an integral part of the lives of our children and young people.  It is a powerful resource for learning, knowledge and socialising, but it can also be a threatening place if they don’t know how to stay safe online.

“We are working together across Government here to ensure departments are actively promoting e-safety in their work. It is important that children and young people and empowered with the knowledge and skills to be able to use the internet safely, confidently and considerately. I am proud to support Safer Internet Day again this year.”

Fiona McLeod, Acting Minister for Children and Young People, said:
“The internet is a fantastic resource and it is absolutely right that creating a space that everyone can use and enjoy is up to us. As a former school librarian, I have seen this for myself. That’s why I am delighted to support Safer Internet Day and spend the morning meeting pupils from Falkirk to learn about the role the internet plays in their education.‪ The Scottish Government is doing a lot of work with partners to make us all better at sharing information with parents and young people on staying safe online. We want young people to make the most of using the internet safely, and will continue doing all we can to encourage safe, responsible use of the internet.”‪‪

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, said:

“Social media and digital technology have the potential to greatly improve the quality of children’s lives. But that is why it is so important we ensure the internet is a safe place for our children and young people. ‘Safer Internet Day’ is a really important contribution to doing just that.”

Former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle is supporting Safer Internet Day for the second time, having become involved last year after her own experience of being trolled online.

“For every negative comment I get online, there’s ten or twenty positive ones, so I try not to dwell on the bad ones. But if people are on the receiving end of threatening or abusive comments, or if someone is being cyberbullied, it’s important to know what to do. The first thing is to tell someone – a friend, a parent, a teacher – make sure you’re not facing it alone. You also need to know how to block and report the people who are upsetting you. It’s something I feel passionate about and why everyone needs to play their part to make the internet a kinder place.”

BBC: Andrew Tomlinson, the BBC’s executive producer responsible for digital and media literacy, said:

“Internet safety is becoming increasingly important as more families get online and children start to use tablets, computers and smartphones earlier in their lives.  For the third year in succession, BBC Learning is supporting the aims of the UK Safer Internet Centre’s Safer Internet Day with our Be Smart campaign. Be Smart is giving young people the chance to speak for themselves about the pressures they face on social networking sites via the video booth we installed in a school.  We’re delighted to be working with St Margaret Ward Academy in Stoke on Trent and we’re hugely grateful to the staff and students there for agreeing to partner with us in this unique project. I’m sure that the stories and advice the students have shared with us will help children and parents to deal with this important issue.”

Director of the NCA’s CEOP Command, Johnnie Gwynne, said:

“The NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command is pleased to once again support the work of the Safer Internet Centre in its co-ordination of Safer Internet Day. As always, this time of year provides a great opportunity to engage with industry, educators and Law Enforcement, who are working together to help keep children safe online. The resources that the Safer Internet Centre produce and support are invaluable and CEOP will continue to work with them and our partners to make the internet a safer place for young people, their families and those that work with them.”

Alex Holmes, Diana Award Anti-Bullying Programme Manager, said:

“Princess Diana believed young people could change the world and that’s why at The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Programme we’re proud to be supporting Safer Internet Day to help empower young people to keep themselves and others safe online.Working in partnership with the UK Safer Internet Centre we hope that the hour of Safer Internet Day TV we have helped produced gives young people the facts in a fun and engaging way and ultimately help shine a light on the positive and creative ways young people are using technology.”

Boel Ferguson, Vice President and General Manager, Disney Interactive EMEA & UK, said:

“Disney Club Penguin is proud to be supporting Safer Internet Day 2015 and helping to create a better internet together. The internet is an exciting place, full of creativity and positivity, but it also presents the same challenges as the real world. Disney Club Penguin works closely with our safety partners such as the Safer Internet Centre to promote great initiatives like Safer Internet Day, empowering kids to take the lead in spreading positive behaviour and providing parents with tools to help them keep their family safe online.”

Rachel Tarr, The FA Child Protection Manager, said

“The Football Association (The FA) recognises that football has a responsibility both on and off the field of play and is happy to support Safer Internet Day, 2015. As reliance on the internet increases, so too should our realisation of its potential impact, both positively and negatively. What we choose to post says a lot about us individually, what we choose to host says a lot about us collectively – so ‘let’s create a better internet together’.”  

Simon Milner, Director of Policy, Facebook, said:

“Over a billion people use Facebook to connect with friends and family every day, and it’s important to us that they have the right tools and resources to stay safe online. Safer internet Day is an important campaign that has real reach and positive impact on children and young people. That’s why, as part of our support for Safer Internet Day 2015, we’ve published Think Before You Share – a practical guide for young people created in partnership with MediaSmarts, Childnet International and Facebook, which includes tips about sharing responsibly and making good decisions online.” 

Katie O’Donovan, Public Policy Manager, Google, said:

“Google is proud to support Safer Internet Day. We are celebrating the day on Google’s homepage in the UK and across Europe to raise awareness among young people of the skills they need to enjoy their online experience safely.”

Carolyn Bunting, Manager at Internet Matters, said:

“Like many organisations, Internet Matters is delighted to be supporting this year’s Safer Internet Day. This annual event is a fantastic example of young people, schools, industry, parents, and charities coming together to highlight the issues and get young people up and down the country talking about how to stay safer online.”

Nick Williams, Consumer Digital Director at Lloyds Banking Group, said:

“It’s important to be aware of how, together, we can create a better, safer internet. That’s why, as part of Safer Internet Day, our digital champions will be visiting schools and hosting talks at our branches to help customers and young people stay safe online. As part of our commitment to help young people we recently launched, through Halifax, an online banking service for 11 to 15-year-olds which provides financial education and online safety information to help them better manage their money.”

Nicola Hodson, COO at Microsoft, said,

“We are proud to be working with the Safer Internet Centre to host the 2015 Safer Internet Day at Microsoft’s offices, the fourth consecutive year we have hosted it here. The industry has come together today to hear from schoolchildren from across the UK and to witness the premiere of their #Up2Us film. Young people learn best from each other and are on the front line as technology develops. Our job is to listen to their needs and to make sure we equip them with the knowledge to navigate the online world safely.”

Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of Mother’s Union and author of the government review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, said:

“This Safer Internet Day, as we unite in creating a better internet together, I’m really pleased to see the important work that the UKSIC is doing to encourage and support parents and carers in engaging with internet safety and supporting their children, as well as the activities, tips and resources to help young people develop emotional resilience and to make the most of the internet.”

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of NSPCC, said:

“The NSPCC is a huge supporter of Safer Internet Day and we will be flying the flag for #SID2015.  Keeping children safe in the digital age is the child protection challenge of a generation.  We cannot be complacent and rely on the positive action of a few technology providers to bring about change.  This is a fight that has to be the top priority for every organisation that connects children with the digital world.”

Patricia Cartes, Head of Global Trust & Safety Outreach, Public Policy at Twitter, said:

“Protecting our users and creating a positive and trusted online environment is paramount to Twitter. Online safety is a priority for us and for this reason we support Safer Internet Day and we are very excited for today’s activities. 2014 has been a big year for us in terms of safety: we introduced significant changes to our reporting mechanisms, rolled out new user tools and our Trust and Safety or Safety Operations teams have continued to grow with hubs in Dublin and San Francisco which service reports from around the globe across timezones. Safer Internet Day 2015 (#SID2015) is our most international to date and we look forward to releasing new resources for our users and contributing to a number of events and initiatives taking place worldwide.”

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