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Digital Champions

Digital Champions are ambassadors for the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme.

We currently have seven Digital Champions who underwent an application process to be selected as our youth representative board. The Digital Champions help the Childnet Digital Leaders team to ensure that the programme is youth led. They represent a youth voice which is essential to the programme’s success and support us with module development, content creation, events and consultation, as well as representing the programme in the wider online safety community.

Click on the photos below to learn more about our Digital Champions and find out about their plans in our recent blog post here.

The Digital Champions were involved in the development of the Young People’s Charter for Safer Internet Day 2020. They fed into the charter through consultation, helping to shape the charter’s four key points which highlight the demands that young people need government to act upon to keep them safe and free to be themselves online. The Digital Champions then presented the charter to MPs at Westminster and to industry at the Safer Internet Day event in London. Read more about the clear demands for government and the Digital Champion’s involvement in developing the Young People’s Charter here.

Aimee

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Aimee

What I like doing best online:

I spend my time making memes with my friends based on relevant things happening in today’s world because I think making memes is definitely a fun way to pass time and enjoy yourself. I also tend to use Reddit in my spare time to look at food pictures and recipes, although they do make me very hungry!

What I like doing offline:

I like to recreate some of the food pictures I find online. I’ll try to recreate anything from snacks to desserts, all ranging from around the world. I also like to look for exotic fruits from around the world because I enjoy trying new things and generally being experimental. I’m currently trying to taste as many exotic fruits as possible for one of my new year’s resolutions 😂

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

My aim as a Digital Champion will be to teach many parents as well as children about online safety and how to help their child if they encounter problems online, especially in a world where social media is changing every second. I would also like to be able to reach people further away and help them as well as be able to give anyone advice on safety online if they asked.

My top online safety tip:

My online safety tip would be, no matter how difficult or scary your situation is, never hold it in. Always tell somebody because there is always someone who has been in that situation or knows how to get you out of it, someone is always willing to help.

Bella

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Bella

What I like doing best online:

I use the internet most for my studies – more so now that I’m doing the IB and need to type things up and communicate projects more often – but I’m mostly on Youtube in my spare time, as I think most people are today. I keep trying and failing to start a photography account on Instagram, but I run a blog on Tumblr that’s to do with writing and inspo, and I think that’s a healthy way of contributing to the social media sphere. Word and Pages are to fuel my writing, but otherwise I have phases in which all I want to do is play Subnautica or Pokémon, though I’ve been better at managing (repressing) this so I can actually get things done lately. I love languages, so I’ve been using Duolingo to take a stab at Russian and to back up my preexisting Mandarin.

What I like doing offline:

I have been writing my entire life – I’m currently in the (attempted) process of getting a short play published – and I spend a lot of my extra time, of which there is little as an IB student, doing that. It benefits me to be able to exercise my creative drive as much as possible, and in general I would just rather be writing than anything else, so unsurprisingly that’s what I want to do in the future. I started out as a terrible poet and have now evolved into a terrible author of short stories, but I like to think I’m improving.

Otherwise, I love to read, on anything that interests me academically or fictionally, and I’m also super into art (one of my subjects for the IB Diploma), particularly drawing; this is also something I’m working at in an attempt to get better, and recently I’ve been able to branch out more due to the incredible art department I have access to as a Sixth Former at my school. Currently I’m going through a musicals phase – my favourite is Hamilton, which is this perfect mix of history and just incredible amounts of creativity – but this is kind of a double-edged sword because it makes me want to write music, which is a skill I absolutely do not have. I’m putting on a production of the History Boys at my school, though, which is kind of a halfway house.

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

What I really want from the Digital Champion position is to be able to be a touchstone for both ‘sides’ of the Digital Leaders programme – that is, the team at Childnet and the Digital Leaders themselves – because I think this connection is incredibly important for how successfully the information the programme tries to get across to an audience is received, and also for how well the Leaders feel listened to and useful. I know that when I started with the programme this was what I most wanted – not just to be heard but also to be heard in the context of everyone else – and I’m hoping that as Digital Champions, who get to communicate with both parties regularly, we will be approachable as that connection when it isn’t possible to otherwise bridge the gap. I feel like I know a fair amount about digital safety but also how to take responsibility for the information I share and how to connect the young and the older in a way that makes both sides of the traditional ‘argument’ feel understood, mostly because I have been on the internet for my whole conscious life (as a member of ‘Generation Z’) but I am also in close contact with the generation who see it as something not to be taken for granted, which of course it isn’t, and also because that life-constant presence of a connection with the internet has allowed me to naturally develop my skills and understanding of it, perhaps even as it itself was also growing and the problems we see today were swelling with it. I feel as though I understand the nature of a lot of these issues, and the rightful concerns the older generation has about these new things, intangible to them as they sometimes can be – the Digital Champions role, for me, is a key thing to have in order to reconcile this divide that really doesn’t need to exist, which will in turn be the source of better education for future generations.

My top online safety tip:

The incredibly small thing of ‘looking for the green padlock’ at the top of the website handle before giving away your credit card details has weirdly been incredibly helpful to me in the past, and I think, while well-known now, wasn’t when it first became a thing and tripped many people up considering how popular online shopping is. On a broader scope, though, I think one of the best ways to be safe online is to, when you get given access to a new device or platform for the first time, educate yourself and learn the ropes alongside your guardians or parents so that they’re on the same page as you, and then they will be useful and not just reliable in the future should you ever need to report anything to them. Education of the parents is just as important as, if not more important than, education of the young person in the case of online safety – especially when we look at them as resources for that young person to use should they ever run into trouble, because if an older person is spouting negativity (mostly pursued by the media) only it can give off the wrong impression and actually repel that person from speaking to them about potentially-embarrassing problems, and that then leads to larger issues with safety such as grooming or intense cyberbullying.

Cosima

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Cosima

What I like doing best online:

My favourite thing to do online is probably either watching YouTube or Netflix or doing BuzzFeed quizzes!

What I like doing offline:

When I’m not on my phone (or any device!) I like to walk my puppy in the fields or park or go on a zip wire with my friends.

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

As a Digital Champion, one of my main aims is to help people to identify what’s an online trap and what isn’t as it’s a rarely touched-on topic on its own so I personally think it should be addressed.

My top online safety tip:

Be careful what you say online as once it’s out there you can never take it back, believe me!

Jess

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Jess

What I like doing best online:

I enjoy writing stories and articles on word. Sometimes I will just make up these stories as I go along or my friends will all write our own parts. We have a WhatsApp group that we usually chat on to share our ideas and talk about what we should write next. I also watch a lot of YouTube (who doesn’t?!). I enjoy, messing around on The Sims and designing rollercoasters on a game called Planet Coaster.

What I like doing offline:

I play for a hockey team every Sunday as well as going ballroom dancing. I love everything arty and creative such as drawing, writing, singing, dancing and acting. As an avid theatre geek, some of my favourite musicals are Hamilton, Wicked, Heathers and Be More Chill.

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

Many groups when teaching people how to be safe online either scare them from using the internet or bore them out of their mind. I want to deliver sessions and workshops that engage the audience and use my creativity to my advantage. I want to focus my sessions on positive internet use and inspiring people to use it in creative and effective ways.

My top online safety tip:

My top tip is to take action, if you see or hear about someone who may not be safe online tell someone who can do something about it. Everyone always says to tell a trusted adult but that’s what you must do. If someone has said that you shouldn’t share the problem, still tell an adult. You should want the best for them and as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Maryam

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Maryam

What I like doing best online:

Generally I like to watch Korean dramas online as I’ve been wanting to study the Korean language for some time now, therefore I believe that by watching these dramas, not only do I engage in a brilliant story with clever comedic scenes, but I begin to learn and understand certain words and phrases they use.

What I like doing offline:

Personally I love reading, and I really like to explore different genres. The internet is an efficient way of reading stories of other cultures (as helpful people have translated these books!) I also like to study languages, as one day id hope that they would be useful in some way or another. One language I’m currently studying is Bahasa Malay, as one day I would want to visit Malaysia!

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

As a digital champion, I hope to not only spread awareness of the dangers of the internet, but share the positives too! As the internet is not all bad, if anything it has been a great advantage to us in our daily live, and I would like to share that with everyone.

My top online safety tip:

Staying safe online should not keep you from doing what you love, for example I love playing MMORPGs! I think that to stay safe online is to understand the dangers of people whom you do not know, so my tip would be stay cautious but to allow yourself to have fun!

Niah

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Niah

What I like doing best online:

I love exploring different communities, for example learning about new cultures or minority groups that I might not be educated on, as well a good browse on Pinterest or Instagram!

What I like doing offline:

I love doing musical theatre and I am a strong advocate for things I believe in; feminism, body positivity, LGBTQ+ issues and much more (although I do the latter online too!)

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

As a Digital Champion over the next year, I hope to work with the team at Childnet to get the voices of young people heard in regard to the internet – whether that be to the government or parents and teachers. I hope to work with Digital Leaders from all across the country and encourage them to educate their peers on positive and safe internet use.

My top online safety tip:

My top internet safety tip would be, although cheesy, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see! It’s a brilliant way to think before you post and keep a clean digital footprint. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead!

Oyinkan

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Oyinkan

What I like doing best online:

I love to watch my favourite anime on Crunchyroll! As unproductive as that sounds it’s a form of release for me and helps with stress with school. Sometimes I (sadly) make silly dances with my friends on TikTok (cringe I know). I also enjoy talking to my friends on Instagram and Snapchat. Of course, I love to contact my family on WhatsApp. Snapchat has been a lifesaver for my classes with group chats and uploaded work I forgot about.

What I like doing offline:

I love participating in school events such as MUN, inter-house competitions and helping the younger years in my school. Some days I code during my free time or I’m out and about with my friends at the mall enjoying some Boba. According to my friends I sadly try to sing and dance when I’m bored but what’s the point of living if you can’t annoy the people you love!

What I hope to achieve as a Digital Champion:

My aim is to help as many people as possible. I have previous experience doing so in my school and local community but through this position, I want to give as much advice as possible. I do hope I can inspire others and be a bridge between young kids and parents. I hope to achieve this by working with others in activities and sessions targeted at certain groups that are likely to be affected. This will help me make people safer online as technology develops over time.

My top online safety tip:

My favourite online safety tip must be a quote from my sister “ALWAYS check your page on someone else’s device!”. What she meant here is that we never really know what information other people can see about us be it on Instagram, Twitter or Reddit. You don’t have to ask for someone’s phone but just be careful about what you post and try to check on your posting history. No one other than yourself will remind you of the last embarrassing pic you meant to be private.

“Being a Digital Champion has been such an amazing lesson in how to handle responsibility and organisational pressures.”

Bella, Digital Champion