Safer Internet Day – 6th February 2018
Create, Connect and Share Respect –
A better internet starts with you
of young people aged 8-17 heard about the day
The internet plays a pivotal and positive role in how young people develop socially
Research reveals realities of the double-edged sword of young people’s digital relationships
Two in five 8-17-year-olds say they have felt worried or anxious on the internet in the last week, with one in ten (11%) reporting they have often felt this
68% of young people said that chatting to their friends online cheers them up
When a friend was feeling sad or upset, 88% of young people said they sent them a kind message
Almost half (49%) of young people said that in the last year someone had been mean to them online, with 1 in 12 experiencing this all or most of the time
In comparison, more than four in five young people (83%) have experienced people being kind to them online in the last year
The research has been released by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the official co-ordinators of Safer Internet Day
New research commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre, to mark Safer Internet Day 2018, has revealed that young people are more likely to have a positive experience than a negative experience when online.
The study, which surveyed 2,000 8-17 year olds on their feelings and attitudes towards social media, revealed that despite the often-publicised negative effects of social media use, the internet plays a pivotal and positive role in how young people develop relationships and maintain their social lives in 2018.
This research comes as Safer Internet Day 2018 is being celebrated globally on Tuesday 6th February 2018 with the slogan “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”. The campaign will begin with a mass tweet at 8:30am set to reach more than 9 million. More than a 1700 UK supporters are delivering activities for the day, including Government ministers, Premier League football clubs, industry, celebrities, charities, schools and police services. They will join together to inspire people throughout the UK to ignite conversations and host events that help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
Happy experiences more likely than negative
Reporting on young people’s online experiences, the research shows that respondents have felt inspired (74%), excited (82%) or happy (89%) as a result of their internet use in the past week. In contrast, a smaller proportion reported to have felt sad (56%) or angry (52%) by what they came across online in the last seven days.
When things do go wrong, young people feel confident to reach out to their networks for support and guidance, with 60% saying they talk to friends when someone upsets them online. Slightly higher, 62% turn to their parents and carers for guidance.
Young people also feel passionately about their online community with almost four in five (78%) of those surveyed claiming to believe that every person on the internet has a responsibility to be respectful to others. Demonstrating empathy and support online, 88% said that when a friend was feeling sad or upset they had sent a kind message. More than half (54%) said they’d feel isolated if they couldn’t talk to their friends via technology.
However, many young people also face bullying, exclusion and a range of pressures to maintain their friendships and popularity. Almost half (47%) of respondents said that people had excluded them online in the last year, with 60% thinking it is important for friends to include them in group chats. Almost three-quarters (73%), say it’s important for their friends to reply to their messages as soon as they’ve seen them. Still, many young people are rejecting these pressures with 35% saying that they do not feel they must use social media to be popular or liked.
Willingness to be educated
With reforms to Relationships and Sex Education on the horizon, it’s positive to see the majority (72%) of young people wanted their school to teach them about cyberbullying and how to manage friendships online. However, one in ten of those surveyed say that they have not been taught this in school.
The UK Safer Internet Centre – comprised of Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation and South West Grid for Learning – believe that the key to continuing the positive use of the internet is to empower young people with the skills they need to navigate the online world in a safe and respectful way, and to ensure schools, parents and carers and other members of the children’s workforce have the tools to support young people to do so.
With Safer Internet Day, the UK Safer Internet Centre is working with hundreds of other organisations to encourage more conversations at school and at home about young people’s online lives and how their actions online can affect relationships, empowering young people to use digital technology wisely. Schools across the UK will be using the UK Safer Internet Centre’s Education Packs and Safer Internet Day TV films to explore these issues, and later today the UK Safer Internet Centre will hosting events across the UK where young people will be meeting Ministers and other key decision makers.
To keep updated and to get involved follow @UK_SIC and use the hashtags #SaferInternetDay and #AnInternetWeTrust. For further information, or to register your support as an organisation, visit https://www.saferinternetday.org.uk.
It’s clear that technology is having an impact on how young people develop relationships, interact with each other and express themselves. Today’s findings are encouraging, highlighting that the majority of young people’s experiences of the internet are positive in this regard. However we also see that there is a negative side, including where young people face pressures in their online friendships.
Safer Internet Day gives us the unique opportunity to collectively promote respect and empathy online, inspire young people to harness their enthusiasm and creativity, and support them to build positive online experiences for everyone. It is inspirational to see so many different organisations and individuals come together today to build a better internet. We want to make sure that every young person feels equipped and empowered to make positive decisions when interacting online – be it on gaming sites, messaging apps or social sharing platforms.
As today’s figures show, the Internet can and does have a positive effect on young people’s lives but we must all recognise the dangers that can be found online.
Only by working together can government, industry, parents, schools and communities harness the power of the internet for good and reduce its risks.
It is fantastic to see this ambition reflected on Safer Internet Day with hundreds of organisations coming together across the UK to raise awareness and empower young people.
To support young people this Safer Internet Day and beyond, the UKSIC hosts a library of free educational resources at www.saferinternetday.org.uk to provide parents, schools and other members of the children’s workforce with the tools they need to safely navigate the internet.
For media information and to arrange interviews, please contact the Safer Internet Day team on:
07855 497491 and 07985 612552