Safer Internet Day: Study reveals 4 in 5 young people are exposed to online hate
Young people across the UK are joining Government ministers, celebrities, industry figures, schools and police forces to play their part in creating a kinder online community today, Safer Internet Day 2016.
The day of positive action comes as a new study commissioned by official organisers of the day, the UK Safer Internet Centre, reveals that more than four in five (82%) young people have seen or heard online hate targeted at a certain group in the past year, showing that more needs to be done to help create a kind and inclusive internet.
- Young people join biggest ever Safer Internet Day to play their part for a better internet as study reveals 4 in 5 are exposed to online hate
- Ministers, celebrities and over a thousand organisations across the UK celebrate biggest ever Safer Internet Day
- UK Safer Internet Centre study shows 4 in 5 young people witnessed online hate targeting a specific group in the last year
- Three quarters say online hate makes them more careful about what they share online
- 2.1m young people have played their part and taken positive online action to show their support for targeted groups
Celebrated globally in over 100 countries, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for everyone to play their part for a better internet.
This year is set to be the biggest campaign yet with over a thousand organisations across the UK uniting in their support for the day.
High profile supporters include the BBC, BT, Disney, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, NSPCC, Premier League Football Clubs, the Post Office, Twitter, Vodafone, and the UK Government, as well as police services and schools across the UK, who are all coming together to deliver a range of inspiring activities to encourage the safe and positive use of technology.
North Wales Police supporting #SID2016
North Wales Police is again supporting Safer Internet Day, School Community Police Officers (SCPO’s) in North Wales will be delivering targeted lessons about Internet Safety in many schools on and around Safer Internet Safety Day.
In the primary schools taking part there will be Stay SMART lessons for 7 to 9-year olds, raising awareness of safety and privacy issues when chatting or playing online.
Be Cyber Safe lessons looking at online bullying will be delivered to years 5 and 6. A lesson has also been devised about the positive uses of mobile phones.
Secondary schools which have booked sessions will be taught about using the internet safely and about the potential risks of sending and receiving pictures.
Inspector Julie Sheard from North Wales Police’ Community Safety Department said:
“The annual Safer Internet Day promotes safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology by children and young people.
“The internet is an important part of our daily lives and we should encourage children and young people to use it safely while being mindful that there are associated dangers.
“Talking to your children about these issues and encouraging them to be cyber-savvy is more important than ever and there are simple steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”
School Community Police Officers across North Wales regularly speak to pupils about the importance of staying safe online.
Young people want the internet to be a positive and inclusive place.
This nationwide day of action comes as new research reveals young people’s experiences online – both positive and negative.
In particular the study explores young people’s exposure and attitudes to the topic of online hate targeted at people or communities because of their gender, transgender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
Overwhelmingly young people want the internet to be a positive and inclusive place that respects people’s differences and they see their peers helping to create this.
The online study of 13-18-year-olds conducted by ResearchBods found that 94% said they believe no one should be targeted with online hate, while 93% have seen their friends posting things online that are supportive, kind or positive about a certain group in the last year.
But despite that positive experience, the majority of young people have seen something hateful on the internet in the last year.
More than four in five (82%) said they witnessed online hate, having seen or heard offensive, mean or threatening behaviour targeted at or about someone based on their race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Almost a quarter of young people reported to have been the target of online hate.
More worryingly, almost a quarter (24%) reported to have been the target of online hate themselves in the last year for belonging to a certain group. As a result, some young people are self-censoring with nearly three quarters (74%) saying that online hate makes them more careful about what they share online.
The study reveals that more needs to be done to empower young people to take action over online hate. While 84% of young people had seen people responding to defend a certain group that is being targeted online, the most common strategy among those who had witnessed online hate was to ignore it (53%).
While more than two thirds (68%) of those who had witnessed online hate in the last year say they know how to report it to a social network, in practice just a fifth (20%) actually reported it to the social network, app, game or website where they saw it.
Young people are up for the challenge though: Over 2.1m young people have played their part to show their support for targeted groups in the last year, while almost three-quarters (72%) believe people their age can use the internet to bring different people closer together.
Will Gardner, a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, said about the day:
“The volume and range of support we’ve seen for this year’s Safer Internet Day is truly inspiring. With activities taking place right across the UK and young people coming together to share their perspectives and ideas, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for us all to stand together and show what kind of internet we want – where kindness is the norm and everyone is treated with respect.”
“While it is encouraging to see that almost all young people believe no one should be targeted with online hate, and heartening to hear about the ways young people are using technology to take positive action online to empower each other and spread kindness, we were surprised and concerned to see that so many had been exposed to online hate in the last year.
“It is a wake-up call for all of us to play our part in helping create a better internet for all, to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology provides for building mutual respect and dialogue, facilitating rights, and empowering everyone to be able to express themselves and be themselves online – whoever they are.”
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