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Safer Internet Day 2018
To mark Safer Internet Day 2018 young people in Yorkshire and Humber and across the UK are joining Government ministers, celebrities, industry figures, schools and police services to inspire people to ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: a better internet starts with you.’

A new study commissioned by official organisers of the day, the UK Safer Internet Centre, explores how being online can make young people feel, helping them to consider the positive and negative effects being online can have on them and the ways to respond.

37% of 8-17-year-olds in Yorkshire and Humber say they have felt worried or anxious on the internet in the last week, with 6% reporting they have often felt this
62% of young people in Yorkshire and Humber said that chatting to their friends online cheers them up
When a friend was feeling sad or upset, 86% of young people in Yorkshire and Humber said they sent them a kind message
45% of young people in Yorkshire and Humber said that in the last year someone had been mean to them online

In comparison, almost four in five (79%) young people in Yorkshire and Humber have experienced people being kind to them online in the last year

The research was released by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the official co-ordinators of Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. More than 1000 organisations are supporting the day, including the BBC, BT, Sky, O2, Vodafone, Lloyds Banking Group, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Google, NSPCC, Premier League football clubs and the UK Government, as well as police services, charities and schools across the UK, who are all coming together to deliver a range of inspiring activities.

They’ll be joining hundreds of individuals supporting the #SID2018 social media campaign to inspire positive action, which is set to reach millions with a mass tweet at 8.30am on the day.


Digital Relationships

New research commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre, to mark Safer Internet Day 2018, has revealed that young people in Yorkshire and Humber are more likely to have a positive experience than a negative experience when online.

The study, which surveyed 2,000 8-17 year olds, including 185 young people in Yorkshire and Humber, on their feelings and attitudes towards social media, revealed that despite the often-publicised negative effects of social media use, the internet plays a pivotal and positive role in how young people develop relationships and maintain their social lives in 2018.

Reporting on young people’s online experiences, the research shows that respondents in Yorkshire and Humber have felt inspired (71%), excited (81%) or happy (86%) as a result of their internet use in the past week. In contrast, a smaller proportion reported to have felt sad (53%) or angry (51%) by what they came across online in the last seven days.

When things do go wrong, young people in Yorkshire and Humber feel confident to reach out to their networks for support and guidance, with 55% saying they talk to friends when someone upsets them online. More young people, 65%, turn to their parents and carers for guidance.

Young people in Yorkshire and Humber also feel passionately about their online community with almost four in five (78%) of those surveyed claiming to believe that every person on the internet has a responsibility to be respectful to others. Demonstrating empathy and support online, 86% said that when a friend was feeling sad or upset they had sent a kind message. almost half (48%) said they’d feel isolated if they couldn’t talk to their friends via technology.

However, many young people in Yorkshire and Humber also face bullying, exclusion and a range of pressures to maintain their friendships and popularity. 42% of respondents in Yorkshire and Humber said that people had excluded them online in the last year, with 53% thinking it is important for friends to include them in group chats. 67% say it’s important for their friends to reply to their messages as soon as they’ve seen them. Still, many young people in Yorkshire and Humber are rejecting these pressures with 41% saying that they do not feel they must use social media to be popular or liked.

With reforms to Relationships and Sex Education on the horizon, it’s positive to see the majority 75% of young people in Yorkshire and Humber wanted their school to teach them about cyberbullying and how to manage friendships online. However, one in ten of those surveyed say that they have not been taught this in school.

The UK Safer Internet Centre – comprised of Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation and South West Grid for Learning – believe that the key to continuing the positive use of the internet is to empower young people with the skills they need to navigate the online world in a safe and respectful way, and to ensure schools, parents and carers and other members of the children’s workforce have the tools to support young people to do so.

Will Gardner, a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, says:

“It’s clear that technology is having an impact on how young people develop relationships, interact with each other and express themselves. Today’s findings are encouraging, highlighting that the majority of young people’s experiences of the internet in Yorkshire and Humber are positive in this regard. However we also see that there is a negative side, including where young people face pressures in their online friendships.

“Safer Internet Day gives us the unique opportunity to collectively promote respect and empathy online, inspire young people to harness their enthusiasm and creativity, and support them to build positive online experiences for everyone. It is inspirational to see so many different organisations and individuals come together today to build a better internet. We want to make sure that every young person feels equipped and empowered to make positive decisions when interacting online – be it on gaming sites, messaging apps or social sharing platforms.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries says:

“As today’s figures show, the Internet can and does have a positive effect on young people’s lives but we must all recognise the dangers that can be found online.

“Only by working together can government, industry, parents, schools and communities harness the power of the internet for good and reduce its risks.

“It is fantastic to see this ambition reflected on Safer Internet Day with hundreds of organisations coming together across the UK to raise awareness and empower young people.”

Safer Internet Day 2018, 6th February 2018, 15:26 PM