To mark Safer Internet Day 2017, young people across the UK are joining Government ministers, celebrities, industry figures, schools and police services to inspire people to "Be the change" and unite for a better internet. A new study commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre explores the power and influence of images and videos in digital youth culture, highlighting the positives and potential risks, as well as identifying the key skills young people need to navigate today's online world.
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. In the UK, over 1,600 organisations are supporting the day, including former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, 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 #SID2017 social media campaign to inspire positive action
New research launched in the UK to mark Safer Internet Day reveals that images and video play a central role in young people's digital lives and are powerful tools of communication, self-expression and creativity. The majority (84 per cent) of 8-17-year-olds have shared a photo online, rising from 73 per cent of 8-12-year-olds to 95 per cent of 13-17-year-olds. In the last hour, 1 in 8 young people (12 per cent) surveyed said they had shared a selfie, almost 1 in 3 had used YouTube (31 per cent), 1 in 4 had used Snapchat (25 per cent), and more than 1 in 5 had used Instagram (22 per cent).
Encouragingly, young people are using the power of image to make a difference: 4 in 5 young people (80 per cent) said that in the last year they have felt inspired by an image or video online to do something positive. Furthermore, two thirds (67 per cent) have posted an image or video on the internet for a variety of positive reasons, including to support friends (40 per cent); to share something interesting with others (31 per cent); and to encourage others to do something positive (17 per cent).
However, while many of their experiences were positive, many young people are having negative experiences online:
- Almost 2 in 5 (38 per cent) have received negative comments on a photo they have posted; this can have a real impact on young people's expression, as 2 in 5 (40 per cent) said that they sometimes don't post images because of worries about mean comments.
- More than 1 in 5 (22 per cent) of 8-17s said that someone has posted an image or video to bully them.
- 70 per cent of 8-17s said they have seen images and videos not suitable for their age in the last year.
- Almost half (45 per cent) of 13-17-year-olds have seen nude or nearly nude photos of someone they know being shared around their school or local community.
Find out more about the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.