Brand new educational resources for schools and educators to help them celebrate Safer Internet Day
In the UK, Safer Internet Day 2020 (celebrated on the 11th February) will encourage young people to explore how they manage their identity online, and to think about how the internet shapes how they view themselves and others. It will look at whether the internet allows young people to experiment and express themselves, or if they feel limited in who they can be online, and how offline stereotypes and discrimination are challenged or reinforced online. By opening up conversations around online identity, the day aims to inspire young people to support each other in being who they want to be, to celebrate difference, and help work towards creating a truly inclusive internet.
Will Gardner OBE, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, says:
“We want all schools, youth groups and education settings to be part of the world’s biggest campaign to make the internet a safer and happier place. To help them to do so, as official coordinators here in the UK, our team of teachers and youth workers have created these easy-to-use, practical and engaging resources so that all children can explore what their online identity means in a digital age.”
In 2019, Safer Internet Day messages reached 46% of young people in the UK. A survey of teachers conducted by UK Safer Internet Centre following the day found that 97% of those who had used the Education Packs said that the day encouraged conversations about the safe use of the internet with their pupils. 42% stated that the day led to disclosures of potential online safeguarding issues.
The educational resources were used by professionals working with young people across the country, with over a million downloads and half a million views of the accompanying films.
Feedback from educators who participated in 2019 included:
‘’Brilliant. Even staff that were not comfortable with E-Safety felt confident delivering material.’’
“Every year we are getting more involved and the resources provide a great source of ideas and information to help.”
What is covered in the new resources?
Tailored for each key stage, the educational resources include lesson plans, assemblies, posters, films, and other quick activities to engage young people in Safer Internet Day. These activities are practical, easy to organise, and transferrable to any educational setting – classroom or otherwise.
There are four education packs designed for use with young people, a pack for parents and carers, and a pack to support educators delivering these sessions. All of the resources are available in English and Welsh, and have their own age appropriate content and theme. There are also films to help provoke discussions with young people and with parents.
Resources for use with 3-7 year olds
As well as an assembly and quick activities, the pack for 3-7s includes two differentiated lesson plans for 3-5s and for 5-7s using interactive and imaginative activities that explore the concept of the internet and how their identity can be created online.
Resources for use with 7-11 year olds
The pack for 7-11s explores online identity by focusing on the importance of respect and reputation when navigating the digital world. Amongst the resources available are a lesson plan and an assembly, with accompanying script. These tackle different scenarios young people of this age may face online and explore how to represent their identity online in a safe and positive way.
Resources for use with 11-14 year olds
The pack for 11-14s is filled with practical activities focusing on celebrating and supporting different identities online. The activities consider why some groups of people may feel excluded, unrepresented or unable to be themselves online, as well as offering a range of strategies to make the internet a more inclusive space for everyone.
Resources for use with 14-18 year olds
The pack for 14-18s looks at the barriers which prevent individuals and groups from being themselves online. Young people will think about how we portray the different aspects of our identities online and reflect upon how others online treat us based on this. They will recognise how our identities are used as a measure of our authenticity online and consider whether this gives us true freedom in being ourselves.
A pack for parents and carers
The pack for parents and carers includes activities, conversation starters and information to help parents and carers talk to their children about how to navigate the issue of online identity in a digital age in a safe, responsible and respectful way.
Supporting educators to deliver the activities
The pack for educators includes ideas for getting the most out of the Safer Internet Day packs and supporting young people with the issue of online identity in a digital age as well as advice on handling disclosures about online risk. This pack includes:
- A guide to celebrating Safer Internet Day in your education setting
- Information about handling disclosures and sensitive topics
- Advice for talking to the press about your Safer Internet Day activities
- Information about how you can spread the word of Safer Internet Day even further
To compliment these resources and to spark discussions we have also created films for children aged 5-11, young people aged 11-18, a series of short videos aimed at parents and carers, as well as a campaign film to promote Safer Internet Day in the UK. All films focus on the online identity theme and work well as conversation starters and are an integral part of the education packs.
‘Are you #freetobe yourself online?’ is designed for use with 11-18 year olds. This film replicates a social media story, we hear young people share really interesting insights around two key questions around online identity: Are people free to be who they are online? And is everyone fairly represented online?
The short films aimed at parents and carers addresses how parents and carers can talk to children about their online lives. These films aim to raise awareness of Safer Internet Day and encourage parents and carers to have conversations with their children around online identity.
The creation of these educational resources was sponsored by Verizon Media, and the translation of the resources was completed with support from the Welsh Government. Safer Internet Day, and the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre, is co-financed by the European Commission.