Play your part for a better internet

Celebrated on 9th February 2016

Play your part for a better internet

1140 organisations 40% of young people

Young people join biggest ever Safer Internet Day to play their part for a better internet

  • Ministers, celebrities and over a thousand organisations across the UK celebrate biggest ever Safer Internet Day
  • UK Safer Internet Centre study shows 4 in 5 young people witnessed online hate targeting a specific group in the last year
  • Three quarters say online hate makes them more careful about what they share online
  • 2.1m young people have played their part and taken positive online action to show their support for targeted groups

[9th February 2016] Young people across the UK are joining Government ministers, celebrities, industry figures, schools and police forces to play their part in creating a kinder online community today, Safer Internet Day 2016. The day of positive action comes as a new study commissioned by official organisers of the day, the UK Safer Internet Centre, reveals that more than four in five (82%) young people have seen or heard online hate targeted at a certain group in the past year, showing that more needs to be done to help create a kind and inclusive internet.

Celebrated globally in over 100 countries, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for everyone to play their part for a better internet. This year is set to be the biggest campaign yet with over a thousand organisations across the UK uniting in their support for the day. High profile supporters include the BBC, BT, Disney, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, NSPCC, Premier League Football Clubs, the Post Office, Twitter, Vodafone, and the UK Government, as well as police services and schools across the UK, who are all coming together to deliver a range of inspiring activities to encourage the safe and positive use of technology. They’ll be joining hundreds of individuals supporting the #SID2016 social media campaign to ‘play your part and #shareaheart’, which is set to reach over 4 million in a mass tweet at 8am today.

This nationwide day of action comes as new research reveals young people’s experiences online – both positive and negative. In particular the study explores young people’s exposure and attitudes to the topic of online hate targeted at people or communities because of their gender, transgender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, nationality or religion*.

Overwhelmingly young people want the internet to be a positive and inclusive place that respects people’s differences and they see their peers helping to create this. The online study of 13-18-year-olds conducted by ResearchBods found that 94% said they believe no one should be targeted with online hate, while 93% have seen their friends posting things online that are supportive, kind or positive about a certain group in the last year.

But despite that positive experience, the majority of young people have seen something hateful on the internet in the last year. More than four in five (82%) said they witnessed online hate, having seen or heard offensive, mean or threatening behaviour targeted at or about someone based on their race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or transgender identity. More worryingly, almost a quarter (24%) reported to have been the target of online hate themselves in the last year for belonging to a certain group. As a result, some young people are self-censoring with nearly three quarters (74%) saying that online hate makes them more careful about what they share online.

The study reveals that more needs to be done to empower young people to take action over online hate. While 84% of young people had seen people responding to defend a certain group that is being targeted online, the most common strategy among those who had witnessed online hate was to ignore it (53%).

While more than two thirds (68%) of those who had witnessed online hate in the last year say they know how to report it to a social network, in practice just a fifth (20%) actually reported it to the social network, app, game or website where they saw it.

Young people are up for the challenge though: Over 2.1m young people have played their part to show their support for targeted groups in the last year, while almost three-quarters (72%) believe people their age can use the internet to bring different people closer together.

Safer Internet Day 2016 in action

Schools across the UK will be using the UK Safer Internet Centre’s Education Packs and Safer Internet Day TVfilms to explore these issues, and later today the UK Safer Internet Centre will be taking a group of young people to Number 10 Downing Street before hosting an event at the BT Centre in London to hear young people’s perspectives. Prominent speakers include Baroness Shields (Minister for Internet Safety and Security) andEdward Timpson MP (Children’s Minister).

At the event, the UK Safer Internet Centre and Instagram will be hosting an InstaMeet with popular vloggers and ambassadors from The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign, capturing photography with creative heart-shaped props as part of the #shareaheart social media activity. Notable young talent supporting the day includes CBBCPresenters and pop stars Molly Rainford and Harvey Cantwell, and for the third year running, former Olympic gymnast and current star of Channel 4’s The Jump, Beth Tweddle.

Will Gardner, a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, said about the day:

“The volume and range of support we’ve seen for this year’s Safer Internet Day is truly inspiring. With activities taking place right across the UK and young people coming together to share their perspectives and ideas, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for us all to stand together and show what kind of internet we want – where kindness is the norm and everyone is treated with respect.”

“While it is encouraging to see that almost all young people believe no one should be targeted with online hate, and heartening to hear about the ways young people are using technology to take positive action online to empower each other and spread kindness, we were surprised and concerned to see that so many had been exposed to online hate in the last year.

“It is a wake-up call for all of us to play our part in helping create a better internet for all, to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology provides for building mutual respect and dialogue, facilitating rights, and empowering everyone to be able to express themselves and be themselves online – whoever they are.”

Voicing her support for the day, The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, said:

 “As a parent I understand the real importance of internet safety in protecting our children. The internet is a powerful tool which can have brilliant and virtually limitless benefits, but it must be used sensibly and safely.

“We are working hard to make the web a safer place for children but we can’t do it alone and parents have a vital role to play in educating young people. Events like Safer Internet Day will help to highlight what actions parents and children can take so children are able to safely enjoy all that new technologies have to offer.”

Baroness Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“There is one internet for everyone, whatever their age, and that means we need to ensure the rights and needs of children are protected so that they can explore, create and dream without fear. Safer Internet Day is about everyone doing their part to empower children and give them the skills to interact safely and responsibly and get the most out of the connected world.” 

For more information about the activities taking place to celebrate Safer Internet Day, plus resources and advice for young people, parents, carers and teachers, visit the UK Safer Internet Centre website,


Media contacts

For media enquiries, please contact Claire Lundie or Sam Johnson at Blue / 020 7260 2700 / 07912 553 314

Notes to editors


The survey was conducted online by ResearchBods between 8th-20th January 2016 with a representative sample of 1500 young people aged 13 – 18 years olds in the United Kingdom.  The young teens who completed the survey are part of the SurveyBods Consumer Access panel, which has a specialist youth section enabling young people under the age of 16 to directly complete surveys.
ResearchBods is an award winning research services company, providing consumer access panels, insight communities and software for the research industry. Through unique direct to youth research panels, ResearchBods enables companies to speak directly to young people and provides a voice for young people in the UK. ResearchBods have access to over 300,000 UK consumer through SurveyBods, their Consumer Access Panel.
For the full report visit

* In the research we defined online hate in the following way:

Online hate targets people or communities via the internet because of their gender, transgender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. It could be offensive, mean or threatening, and either targeted directly at a person or group, or generally shared online. In its most extreme form it can break the law and become a hate crime.

About Safer Internet Day:

Safer Internet Day 2016 will be celebrated globally on Tuesday 9th February with the slogan ‘Play your part for a better internet’. 

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

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 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. Get involved to play your part!

About the UK Safer Internet Centre

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities; Childnet, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation.

In addition to coordinating Safer Internet Day, the UK Safer Internet Centre delivers a wide range of activity to promote the safe and responsible use of technology:

  • founded and operates an e-safety helpline for professionals working with children in the UK
  • operates the UK’s hotline for reporting online criminal content
  • develops new educational resources for children, parents and carers and teachers to meet emerging trends in the fast-changing online environment
  • delivers education sessions for children, parents, carers, teachers and the wider children’s workforce
  • shapes policy at school, industry and government level, both in the UK and internationally, and facilitates youth panels to give young people a voice on these issues.

Find out more at 

5 tips on creating a kinder internet for all

  • Post positively. We all can make choices to be kinder online and help to create a better internet for everyone.
  • Think before you post. Remember there’s a person behind the screen reading what you post. Even words meant as a joke can be upsetting to others. Using terms that are offensive (for example to someone’s disability, sexual orientation or gender) can have lasting consequences on a person’s self-esteem.
  • Don’t suffer in silence. Speak to a parent, teacher or other trusted adult if you see or receive any abuse online. Look out for your friends and be there for them in person. If you don’t feel ready to chat to an adult, talk to a friend or get in touch with ChildLine online or call 0800 11 11.
  • Report to social networks and block anyone who is being mean. Social media companies rely on the community to tell them when something isn’t right; play an active role as a digital citizen and report anything that you think might break the rules.
  • Report anything to police that might break the law. Online actions can have offline consequences, and some things you post can even break the law. If you see anything online that you think might break the law then report to your local police or speak to an adult who can help you to take action.

Quotes from Safer Internet Day supporters

Former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle who is currently starring in Channel 4’s The Jump has been the target of trolling and first got involved with Safer Internet Day three years ago. Continuing to support the campaign, she said:

“The internet is a great place and everyone should feel able to be themselves online. That’s why it’s up to all of us to play our part in creating a kinder and better internet. If you see someone saying mean or offensive things or bullying someone online, don’t suffer in silence – it’s important to tell someone, a friend or a trusted adult. Look out for each other and make sure you know how to block and report on social media.”

Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children and Families:

“Nothing is more important than keeping children safe and in an increasingly digital age, protecting children online is a key part of this. Safer Internet Day is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the vast potential of the internet, whilst at the same time identifying how we can work together to help children stay safe online – at school and at home.”

John O’Dowd, Education Minister, Northern Ireland Government: 

“Safer Internet Day provides schools with an opportunity to focus on many of the important issues that our young people face online. While the majority of experiences that learners have using the internet are positive, we must adequately equip them so that they know how to react and behave when faced with inappropriate content and situations. We need to ensure our pupils have access to the knowledge and tools they require to handle such situations and therefore enjoy the vast range of opportunities that the internet offers us all.”

Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, Scottish Government:

“I am delighted to support Safer Internet Day as it’s an excellent reminder for us all to work together to create a safe environment for children and young people online. The internet is a fantastic resource for young people and Safer Internet Day is a celebration of both the creative and responsible use of online technology and asks us all to ‘play your part for a better internet’.

The Scottish Government is doing a lot of work with partners to encourage safe, responsible use of the internet including endorsing the iRights coalition which promotes the rights of children and young people online and in digital technologies.”

Julie James AM, Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Technology:

“There’s no doubt that internet and social technology offer huge possibilities for learning and research, for communication and collaboration and for limitless creativity.  But we must ensure that our young people are aware of the dangers they could encounter online and that we have precautions in place to safeguard them. The Welsh Government is fully committed to promoting tolerance and the appreciation of differences in others.  We encourage all people to treat each other in a respectful manner in all aspects of life including the online space, and we provide expert advice and guidance on e-Safety on our “Hwb” website.  That’s why we are delighted to give our full backing to Safer Internet Day”.

Alice Webb, Director BBC Children’s:

“Children love digital – and it’s opening up exciting new opportunities for them to learn, laugh, create and grow.  But just as the Internet is playing a bigger part in young people’s lives so we need to be striving to make it more safe and positive for everyone.  That’s why the BBC is proud to be supporting Safer Internet Day – which brings welcome focus to an issue that exists every day of the year.”

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, National Policing Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigation: 

“Chief Constable Simon Bailey of Norfolk Police and National Policing Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigation is pleased to once again support the work of the Safer Internet Centre in its co-ordination of Safer Internet Day. The event not only provides a great opportunity to engage with industry, education and Police Partners, who are working together to help keep children safe online but provides a direct engagement with the public on key messages and support services. The reach of the event last year was testament to all the agencies working together to positively challenge and promote online safety and safe family participation.”

Johnny Gwynne, National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command:

“The National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command have a strong partnership with Childnet and the Safer Internet Centre, having worked with their teams for more than eight years to help make the internet a safer place for young people. Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity for everyone, from parents and carers, industry, law enforcement and government, to commit to making the internet a better place for children and young people and we will be encouraging partners and the public to support the day.”

Ronan Dunne, O2 Chief Executive:

“For children, there is no distinction between the realms of online and offline. But our research shows that parents have completely different approaches to keeping their kids safe in the physical world compared to the online world. Safer Internet Day offers an important opportunity for parents to put aside their analogue upbringing and to get help with parenting in the digital age. At O2, we’re passionate about helping families get the most out of tech – and keeping safe online is a key part of that.  That’s why we’ve set up a free advice helpline with the NSPCC, and our Gurus in-store can give guidance too.”

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC:

“Socialising online is central to children and young people’s lives today, so it’s very worrying that so many are witnessing or experiencing online hate. The internet industry has a duty to keep young people safe when they use their services and can not afford to brush this problem under the carpet. When children and parents report online hate messages, companies must take swift and effective action to prevent further distress to victims. Industry should also take steps to report publically on how many complaints they receive and how they deal with them. The NSPCC is proud to support Safer Internet Day 2016, and we are here to offer help to parents through the O2 & NSPCC Online Safety helpline and to children through ChildLine.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary NASUWT the teachers’ union:

“Technology has transformed the learning experiences of many children and young people and made significant improvements to the working lives and practices of many teachers. When used appropriately the benefits can be enormous. However, the abuse and misuse of technology has blighted too many lives, adversely affecting health, welfare and well-being.  As the largest teachers’ union in the UK, the NASUWT has led, for many years, the campaign to protect teachers, school leaders, children and young people from cyberbullying. Our advice, support and training have contributed significantly to creating safer workplaces and learning environments. The NASUWT is pleased therefore to add its support to Safer Internet Day which provides the opportunity to highlight all of the positive benefits of technology while raising awareness of the dangers.”

Susan Daniels, Chief Executive, the National Deaf Children’s Society:

“We’re proud to support Safer Internet Day, and it is a great to see so many organisations showing their commitment to creating a better internet for all young people. Deaf children and young people are particularly vulnerable to bullying both on and offline. It is really important to the National Deaf Children’s Society that they receive the right information at school, so we have been working with the UK Safer Internet Centre to create lesson plans for secondary school teachers on issues such as sexting, social networking sites and cyberbullying as well as information for parents and a downloadable tips flyer for deaf young people. We hope these tools will help deaf children and young people to stay safe and be smart online. “

Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland:

“We are living in a rapidly changing world that is becoming more and more complex. Children and young people need to learn to navigate relationships in the modern context which includes social media. The online world presents opportunities for children and young people to access education, to express themselves and to socialise. These are all rights under the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child.  We need to listen to young people’s experiences and provide the right support and education for this environment, ensuring their safety online and offline so that they can access their rights as digital citizens of the modern world.”

Lauren Seager-Smith, National Coordinator, Anti-Bullying Alliance: 

“Only by working together can we transform the internet into a force for good. There are challenges – we know cyberbullying is a significant issue for young people and that the internet can be used to reinforce messages of prejudice and hate.   That is why we are proud to be one of the many organisations that support Safer Internet Day and why we stand in solidarity with all children, young people and adults that lead by example and take active steps to make the internet a joyful, safe space for everyone.”

Annie Mullins, European Director of Trust and Safety, ASKfm:

“Research conducted by YouGov in 2015, commissioned by ASKfm, showed that teenagers want to stand up and take action against bullying. 78% of the 1,600 teenagers in the UK questioned said they would step in if they witnessed someone being bullied. Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for all of us to work together in order to give online users the tools and resources they need to do just that. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016 we will be releasing new resources in the ASKfm Safety Centre and contributing to a number of events and initiatives taking place worldwide.”

Lorin LaFave, the Breck Foundation:

“The Breck Foundation strives to share awareness of the dangers of online predators and bullies to keep young people safer online through relaying the tragic story of Breck Bednar, a 14 year old boy who was sadly lured to his death by someone he met on-line through friends from school. We totally support Safer Internet Day as we unite together to help young people watch out for the warning signs and make the right choices online for themselves and others, help making the internet a safer place.  Only through education and empowerment can we achieve this goal. PLAY VIRTUAL /LIVE REAL.”

Pete Oliver, MD Consumer Commercial Marketing and Digital, BT:

“BT is proud to be supporting and hosting Safer Internet Day this year.  The internet plays a pivotal role in our everyday lives and as the UK’s number one broadband provider, BT is committed to keeping families safe online through a variety of means including our free BT Parental Controls.  We hope everyone takes the opportunity to talk about internet safety and share advice and tips.”

Alex Holmes, Head of The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign:

“We’re proud to once again support Safer Internet Day. Empowering young people to keep themselves and others safe online is something we are committed to here at The Diana Award charity. Safer Internet Day is a great example of everyone playing a part from young people, schools, industry, charities, parents – we can all make a difference and raise awareness. Working in partnership with the UK Safer Internet Centre we have contributed to Safer Internet Day TV and supported the Safer Internet Day ‘InstaMeet’. The schools, young people and parents we work with always find that the day manages to present the facts in a fun and engaging way and helps us all understand how technology can be used in a positive and creative way.” 

Boel Ferguson, VP & General Manager Disney Interactive EMEA & UK:

“The internet is such a valuable resource for children in learning, exploring or just having fun.  We are fully behind Safer Internet Day, our valued partner the Safer Internet Centre and the goal to encourage all of us to play our part in creating a better internet.”

Rishi Saha, Head of Public Policy for Facebook in the UK:

“Facebook is a place people come to express themselves, share and connect with friends and family. As part of this we believe in a culture where people feel empowered to make the internet a more inclusive, positive place. That’s why the Safer Internet Centre is such an important organisation, providing young people with the tools and advice they need to stay safe online and address negative behaviour when they see it. Keeping our community safe is our most important responsibility, which is why we have spent over a decade innovating and developing new features and tools to help people have a positive experience on Facebook. This includes an unparalleled reporting infrastructure, strict policies that set out what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable on the platform, and a trained team of reviewers who check reports 24 hours a day and act quickly to remove any content that violates our Community Standards. We also work closely with schools, charities and public authorities across the country to provide people with the advice and help they need to combat negative behaviour online.”

Katie O’Donovan, Public Policy Manager, Google:

“Google has a long-standing commitment to online safety and is a proud supporter of Safer Internet Day. We will once again mark the day on Google’s homepage in the UK and across Europe to raise awareness about the importance of privacy and security. We’ve also launched, Internet Legends, a new internet safety tour for school children. We look forward to another year of working together to educate and empower young people with skills to stay safe and act responsibly online.”

Nicky Jackson Colaco, Director of Public Policy, Instagram

“Photos are universal. They break down barriers, help us understand each other and create community. We love seeing what teens share and how they support each other on Instagram. We are grateful to work with the UK Safer Internet Centre and The Diana Award to host the Safer Internet Day 2016 InstaMeet and to keep the Internet an important place for safe expression.”

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters:

“Keeping children safe online is one of the biggest, most important issues of the digital age. We’re delighted to be supporting Safer Internet Day by producing a video to encourage parents to play their part in making the internet safer for their children. It’s all about being a good digital citizen and we would encourage everyone to get involved in Safer Internet Day’s #shareaheart campaign. We’ll be at the event in London on 9th February supporting the cause and spreading the message about using technology in a positive and responsible way.”

Alison Bakunowich, Head of Editorial Nickelodeon UK:

“The internet is a fun and creative space for our audience and we are committed to helping kids stay safe online to enjoy the benefits of the digital world. We’re proud to continue our support for Safer Internet Day and excited to work with Nickelodeon ambassadors to increase awareness of internet safety across our channels on-air, online and beyond our network.”

Nicola Hodson, GM Marketing and Operations, Microsoft UK:

“The Internet is ubiquitous in young people’s day to day lives and so we all have a role to play in making sure it is a safe place. The research released today is showing a worrying trend towards online hate, but it does highlight that young people want to be part of the solution in creating a better, kinder internet. Today is about exploring the issues further and bringing people together to make sure the internet can be enjoyed by everyone. In support of this Microsoft builds family safety tools into a wide variety of our products to help protect children online and we would urge parents and teachers to visit our library of online resources and practical advice, to learn how to ensure that children are using the internet safely.”

James Thickett, Director of Research at Ofcom:

“Safer Internet Day provides an excellent way to engage children and young people about the benefits and risks of being online. It draws together so many of us involved in these issues – schools, industry, parents, charities and government – to work to a common goal. We are very pleased to play our part and this year Ofcom is providing resource materials based on our research to help engage children at school and help them think about their media use and attitudes.”

Micah Schaffer, Director of Public Policy at Snapchat: 

“We’re proud to leverage our Geofilters product to help share the important message that being mean isn’t cool. We hope Snapchatters will take a stand against bullying on our platform and beyond, and help spread the Safer Internet Day message around the world.”

Hannah Kibirige, Senior Policy Officer at Stonewall:

“Stonewall is proud to be supporting Safer Internet Day. Like all young people, the internet affords lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people, tremendous opportunities to be creative, explore new things and connect with others. Yet all too often, young people still report negative experiences online, including homophobic, biphobic, transphobic behaviour or bullying. Stonewall will Play our Part in #SID2016 by sharing the key messages of our NoBystanders campaign, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Heard, and encouraging schools and young people across Britain to #shareaheart for a better and kinder internet for all.”

Nick Pickles, UK Public Policy Manager for Twitter:

“At Twitter, our core mission is to give people across the globe the power to share their ideas instantly. Safety is at the forefront of this mission as we empower our 320 million users to control their individual experience of the platform. In 2015 we launched the Safety Center, enhanced our Block feature, and updated the Twitter Rules to create an even more robust framework to protect our users whilst guaranteeing freedom of expression. We are proud to stand alongside British online safety leaders like UKSIC, not just on Safer Internet Day, but on an ongoing basis to share ideas and best practice.” 

Lisa Felton, Head of Consumer Policy & Content Standards, Vodafone Group:

“Vodafone continues to support the excellent work of the UK Safer Internet Centre, culminating each year in raising awareness to children and parents on Safer Internet Day. It is a fantastic opportunity for all sectors to show the innovative projects being delivered to support children online. This year, as part of our digital confidence and emotional resilience campaign – Be Strong Online, we will continue to use our emojis to raise awareness of bullying online and deliver, in partnership with the Diana Awards, the remainder of the peer to peer modules for schools.”