United Kingdom Safer Internet Centre
About the organisation
The UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC) is a partnership of three leading charities – Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) - with a shared mission to make the internet a better place for children and young people.
The partnership was appointed by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for the UK in January 2011 and is one of the 30 Safer Internet Centres of the Insafe network. The centre has five main functions:
- Education, training and awareness: increasing the UK's resilience through innovative tools, services, resources, campaigns and training.
- Helpline: supporting the children's workforce.
- Hotline: disrupting the distribution of child sexual abuse content.
- Youth participation: giving youth a voice and inspiring active digital citizenship.
- Leadership and collaboration: creating a UK and global eco-system that embeds online safety.
The awareness centre is led by Childnet International and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL). The awareness centre provides advice and support to children and young people, parents and carers, schools and the children's workforce. The awareness centre provides tools and resources for all of our audiences, these include; safety tools and conversation starters for parents, online safety and PSHE toolkits for teachers and schools, top tips and quizzes for young people, and social media guides and checklists.
We also run education sessions in schools and youth organisations, and for safeguarding teams.
At the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC), youth voice is an essential part of our work. The awareness centre runs initiatives such as the Digital Leaders Programme, an online peer to peer educational platform for both primary and secondary school pupils, and the Childnet Film Competition, where young people create inspiring, online safety films to help educate their peers.
The awareness centre coordinates the UK Safer Internet Centre's national campaign for Safer Internet Day (SID) every year, which grows in its support and impact each year, in 2018 reaching 45 per cent of UK youth and 30 per cent of UK parents.
Our outreach awareness programme, Online Safety Live, is a programme of free events designed exclusively for professionals working with children and young people. Each event lasts for two hours and covers a broad range of online safety topics.
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Our Professionals Online Safety Helpline is dedicated to supporting any professionals working with children and young people. We receive calls from school staff, teachers, children's centres, police forces, youth organisations, social workers, local authorities and so on. We help them with online safety issues relating to them as professionals or to the young people in their care. We have partnerships with a number of safeguarding and law enforcement organisations that help us refer or signpost our clients. We also work very closely with most major industry providers like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google, Instagram, and many others which enables us to have first-hand information and to feed into their safety and reporting tools.
The helpline's opening hours are 10.00-16.00 and can be reached by telephone on 0344 3814772. We are the only helpline from the Insafe network to provide such a service for professionals working with children and young people.
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The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is the UK's hotline for reporting child sexual abuse imagery. We work internationally to remove these disturbing images and videos to protect victims and make the internet a safer place. We proactively search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed.
The IWF was founded in 1996 by the internet industry as a self-regulatory body. The IWF and the internet industry work effectively in partnership with the police, educators, the government and others to achieve our vision. The IWF is a membership organisation and became a registered charity in 2005 with an independent board. The key to our success since our inception is the support we receive from the internet industry and strong partnerships we have across the globe. We also provide reporting portals to some of the least developed countries in the world to allow their citizens a safe and anonymous place to report child sexual abuse imagery. We strive to meet the demands of evolving technology, industry developments, and public and government scrutiny.
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Throughout the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC) we aim to have meaningful engagement with children and young people to ensure that they remain at the heart of all our activities.
We want to empower young people to help create a better and safer internet and aim to do this through all our work including running peer-led activities and programmes such as the annual Childnet Film Competition and the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme.
We regularly consult children and young people in our campaigns, events and through ongoing programmes such as the Childnet Digital Leader Programme so that they can help inform our work and provide their tips and perspectives on a variety of online issues. When we create resources, we hold focus groups with young people so they can help inform and shape them.
We also work with young people for Safer Internet Day (SID) every year, where young people lead interactive activities for key policymakers, industry and guests, as well as creating video content. We also take young people to international forums such as the Safer Internet Forum (SIF) where they take part in sessions and workshops and express their opinions on what makes a better internet.