The role of young people in Childnet’s work

Posted on 12 August 2019

Today is International Youth Day! Young people play a key part in all the work we do at Childnet. From being part of youth boards, to creating award winning resources for their peers, we truly believe that youth voice is key to creating a better and safer internet.

Young people educating their peers

One of the best ways for young people to learn about staying safe online is through peer education, whether this is in assemblies, workshops or through film. Throughout the year we run projects and events where young people can take the lead and help their friends and others in their school communities to be safe online.

In our annual Film Competition we ask young people from across the UK to create inspiring short films about online safety for others their age. In 2019 we asked young people to create a film around the theme of 'Our Future Online’; there were some great entries and the finalists from both the primary and secondary categories created valuable resources that will be used to educate young people around the UK.

The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme is a youth leadership training programme empowering young people to educate their peers about online safety. Groups of Digital Leaders complete training through an engaging, informative and fun online platform, working through modules to equip them with the skills to become peer mentors in their schools, and help keep others safe online. When they are qualified, the Digital Leaders are encouraged to advocate fo online safety in their school and wider community by running offline and online activities, for which they are awarded badges and points.

Youth boards taking the lead

At Childnet we use youth boards to ensure that our work is current and relevant to the experiences of young people.

In 2017 we created a youth advisory board which advises and consults with Childnet on Project deSHAME. The work on Project deSHAME has created comprehensive educational resources which look at peer pressure, digital relationships and peer-based online sexual harassment. We consulted with the youth board to help us to understand why and how young people experience sexual harassment online, and what we can do to encourage those affected to report it.  Read what the deSHAME youth board have to say.

We also have a group of Digital Champions, these are qualified Digital Leaders who work with the Childnet Digital Leaders team to ensure that the programme is youth led. They represent youth voice and offer support with module development, content creation, events and consultation on policy.

Youth Voice shaping resources

Young people have played an essential role in the creation of our resources over the last few years. To shape new resources Childnet’s Education team run focus groups with young people across the UK, allowing the team to hear directly what young people have to say about their experiences online and how schools can help remove barriers that prevent young people from seeking help.

The young people have given us their thoughts and reactions to the new film concepts, their reflections on new characters and have shaped the way in which we talk about the issues young people face online. We use young people’s feedback to ensure the films we create and characters within them are relatable, relevant and represent youth experience.

Throughout the development of our guidance and resources, we will continue to draw upon the voice of young people and schools.

Watch young people from Project deSHAME in the UK, Denmark and Hungary tell us what they need. 

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