Childnet is delighted to announce the launch of our new Youth Advisory Board.
The Board was created to advise and consult with Childnet on Project deSHAME, our new piece of research looking at peer pressure, digital relationships and peer-based online sexual harassment. We want to understand why and how young people experience sexual harassment online, and what we can do to encourage those affected to report it.
After an intensive application and interview process, we had the difficult job of choosing just 10 young people to join the Board. The standard of applications was incredibly high, so it was really important to understand the reasons behind why each applicant was interested in the role.
“I wanted to join the YAB because online sexual harassment is rarely spoken about. So many people have experienced some kind of online harassment yet they never tell anyone or knew what to do when they found themselves in the situation.” – Holly, YAB member
“I joined the YAB to share my experiences and knowledge and make some new friends along the way. The YAB is a group of teenagers who get the message out there.”– Liam, YAB member
The Youth Advisory Board members represent different areas from all over the UK, from Hampshire and Kent, to Essex, Staffordshire and Sunderland, with a couple more places in between!
The first time the Youth Board met was at a three day residential workshop hosted by Childnet in London in July 2017. The Board worked on lots of issues, including how we define online sexual harassment, the line between banter and bullying, reviewing what makes an information resource effective and appealing to young people, and ways we can raise awareness around reporting and getting help.
“The YAB makes sure young people have a voice and share their concerns when it comes to online sexual harassment.” – Ishaa, YAB member
One aim of Project deSHAME is to create a campaign toolkit, with educational resources for young people, teachers and the police. The YAB gave Childnet a lot of really valuable advice about the messages we give out, especially around how they would like adults to respond to young people who report experiencing online sexual harassment, and what steps are taken to protect that person.
“The young person should be told the truth about the procedures, and shown the steps to tackling the issue. The persons working with the young person should not use their authority to reprimand them or to be condescending. But they should also be treated like adults where they recognise their mistakes and are willing to cooperate to sort out the issue.” – Afua, YAB member
We are already so proud of the work the Youth Advisory Board have done, and we’re really looking forward to carry on working together to call on their excellent feedback and guidance. As well as helping us to create the campaign toolkit, there are lots more exciting things ahead for the YAB in the months to come - watch this space!
“I'm so excited for the next steps of the YAB and our plans to keep working to produce the best resources for our project. Working with the rest of the youth board has been so inspiring and opened my eyes to so many different ideas and opinions.” - Holly, YAB member