Safer Internet Day 2019 in the UK: "Our internet, our choice"

  • Awareness
  • 19/03/2019
  • UK Safer Internet Centre

In the United Kingdom, the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC) marked Safer Internet Day (SID) by mobilising people across the country "Together for a better internet" and explore how a better internet starts with each and every one of us.

The theme for this year's SID in the UK was "Our internet, our choice: understanding consent in a digital world". The campaign saw so many come together to help inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. Over 2,100 organisations across the UK delivered activities for the day, including schools, police forces, government, companies, football clubs, charities and others – more than ever before.

Throughout the day, it was great to see the impact of SID on social media. On Twitter the #SaferInternetDay hashtag trended in the UK throughout the day, accompanied by the hashtag emoji. On Snapchat, there was a filter available right across the UK.  Schools, organisations, football clubs and many more organisations made #OurInternetOurChoice pledges, showcasing how they are taking positive actions to build a better internet.

Youth events across the UK

Young people played a central role in SID 2019, from leading sessions and speaking at youth events, to creating new resources, sharing their pledges, educating their peers and engaging with policy makers.

Over 2,000 organisations, schools and other organisations signed up as official supporters, and many more also joined in to celebrate the day. The breadth of activities on social media highlighted the scope of engagement right across the UK.

There were youth events across the UK, which helped ensure that the day really reflected the voice of young people. At these events, young people met government ministers, policy makers, industry representatives and more, with opportunities to share their experiences of being online and their recommendations for how this space can be improved for young people.

- In London, over 60 young people attended a special youth-led interactive event at the BT Centre, welcoming over 100 policymakers, industry, charities and media from across a range of sectors to discuss how young people navigate the challenges around consent online. The young people ran activity stations for guests, delivered keynote speeches, gave interviews to media and took part in a panel discussion led by BBC journalist Kate Russell. Minister for Digital Margot James, and Department for Education Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi attended.

  • In Scotland, Maree Todd MSP visited the Newbattle High School in Midlothian to meet the students and staff as they celebrated SID 2019.
  • At Anfield, home to the Liverpool Football Club, nearly 500 young people from schools across the city took part in an event, incuding an assembly, workshops focusing on consent online, stadium tours and meeting Mighty Red the LFC mascot. Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler also attended the event.
  • At Goodison Park, home to Everton Football Club, 240 young people from 24 schools in the city came together to take part in SID activities.

Resources and films for educators

To help teachers and educators to celebrate SID with children and young people, the UK SIC created a range of Education Packs. These packs were tailored for the 3-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-18 year olds, and included lesson plans, assembly presentations, quick activities and more to help engage young people in SID activities. The SIC also created a pack for parents and carers to help them talk to their children about online safety, which included activities, talking points and pledges for families to use together. The SID educational resources were downloaded 630,185 times from the UK Safer Internet Centre site, with further downloads across other partner sites.

To complement their Safer Internet Day Education Packs, the UK SIC created a series of SID TV films aimed at 3-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-18 year olds, as well as parents and carers. Series of films designed to complement the educational packs aimed at 3-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-18 year olds as well as parents and carers. The content included a 360-degree film, rap video from a teacher, advice from young people, and gameshow format with parents and their children. There was also a campaign film about SID in the UK. In total, the videos were viewed over half a million times across YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#SID2019 on social media

In the UK, #SaferInternetDay2019 was trending throughout the day on SID, with support from high profile supporters like the Mayor of London, Home Secretary and footballers.

The #OurInternetOurChoice social media campaign encouraged people to make a pledge to make the internet a better place. The UK SIC provided their supporters with a template jigsaw piece where they could write messages, tips or create a design to show how everyone can work together to make the internet a better place. The hashtag was used 3,429 times, with a reach of 29,669,298 people.

SID in the media

SID had 713 mentions in the UK media (mainstream and alternative), with coverage in national broadcasts and media such as BBC News, BBC Newsround, BBC Radio Wales, CBeebies Radio, the Chris Evans breakfast show, Capital radio, the Evening Standard, ITV News online, Metro, Radio 4 You and Yours, Sky News, talkRADIO , TES, and Yahoo! News.

New research was released by the UK SIC on the day, "Our internet, our choice" , which surveyed 2004 young people aged 8-17 across the UK. The findings explored young people's experiences of asking for, giving and receiving consent in an online context. Alongside the research, two films with Digital Leaders were created to explore the issue of consent as well as parents sharing without permission. These videos were viewed over 75,000 times. 

Impact of the day

As a result of this collective day of action, the UK SIC reached 46 per cent of UK children aged 8-17 years and 26 per cent of UK parents.

Children and young people

Out of the 46 per cent 8-17 year-olds who had heard of SID, 56 per cent spoke to their parent or carer about using the internet safely. 78 per cent of 8-17 year-olds who had heard about the day said they felt more confident about what to do if they were worried about something online, with 76 per cent saying they learnt about safety features online such as reporting and privacy. 1 in 5 (20 per cent) of 8-17 year-olds spoke to someone about something that had been worrying them online. Thinking about the theme of consent, 84 per cent of 8-17 year-olds who heard about the day said they were more aware of the importance of permission before sharing content (such as images) about other people.

Parents

Of those parents and carers of 8-17 year olds that had heard about SID (26 per cent), 82 per cent talked to their child about using the internet safely (up from 74 per cent in 2018) and 25 per cent spoke to someone about concerns they had about their child.

From the many conversations, activities and events that have been taking place, it is clear that the day was such a success because of the collaborative efforts of everyone who came together to help create a better internet.

Please check the UK Safer Internet Day profile page for further information.

Find out more information about the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.


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