62% of children aged 8 to 17 years old have said they are more careful about what they share online because of people being mean based on who they are.
This is not okay.
We call on government to make the internet a place where all young people are #freetobethemselves online.
- 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 targetedonline. It’s our right to have access to the internet – but it’s also our right for it to be safe and positive.
- Give us 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.
The UK Safer Internet Centre has worked with young people to develop a Young People’s Charter for Safer Internet Day 2020 on how government can help make a more inclusive internet where everyone is #freetobe themselves. We have done this through an online poll of over 2001 children, speaking to 13 children in focus groups, 41 Childnet Digital Leaders in an online survey and consulted Childnet Digital Champions. This charter of four key points comes from the young people we spoke to. Read the full press release for Safer Internet Day 2020.