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Digital Champions meet for the first time to inspire other Digital Leaders across the country

Published: 18th February 2019

The Childnet Digital Champions are Bella from Gresham’s Senior School, Erin from Bredon School, Jess from Selston High School and Maryam from Woodford County High School. The Digital Champions had their kick-off day on 22nd January at Facebook HQ and this day was a chance for the young people to get to know each other, find out more about their role as a Digital Champion and lots lots more! The Digital Champions will be available for other Digital Leaders to consult with at our Regional Events. Here is a blog written by them which gives you more of an insight into what they got up to on kick-off day.

Jess – How did we become Digital Champions?

Hello! I’m Jess, one of your Digital Champions for 2019. Oh, and also, welcome to our first blog! Here, you’ll find information for what we are doing next, as well as all of the exciting things we get up to! However, you are probably still wondering what on earth a Digital Champion is and how we got here so, let me explain.

The Digital Champions are a group of people who are part of the Childnet Digital Leaders group.  We represent you and are a voice for your thoughts and feelings on ways to develop the Digital Leaders programme. Not only do we help improve the programme, but we also have a say in your protection online and how to make the most of our Internet. As we are the first ever group of Digital Champions, this is an exciting opportunity for all of us and the Childnet team.

Got an idea of how to better the Digital Leaders programme? Talk to us. Got an exciting idea for a new module? We’re the ones to call! Want to help improve the safety of young people online? Hello, we’re here! We want to spread the message of positive internet use far and wide and, with your help and input, we can create a better online experience for everyone.

We are approachable, friendly and responsible. We want to inspire you to make a difference in your school or area and help people see the internet in a positive light.

The thing is, we didn’t just end up here for no reason. We had to go through a process of interviews and applications before finally being told that we were the select group of people chosen to be Childnet’s youth board. It started with the application. We had to fill out an online application about what we hope to achieve and why we want to be a Digital Champion, which we all did and passed that stage. Next was the interview. Soon after finding out we had passed the application stage, an interview on Skype was arranged. Although the connection was a bit dodgy at times, we were asked a series of questions and given five minutes to complete a task. The task being to design a session and what the benefits would be. Eventually, we found out that we had the job! I was one of the few Digital Champions in the UK! We were invited to Facebook HQ in London for a Kick-Off Day, which was low-key AMAZING! We hope to keep you updated on all of the other exciting opportunities we have for you and all of the things we get up to!

Bella – What are we going to do as Digital Champions?

As Digital Champions, it is our responsibility to be the liaison between the Childnet team and Digital Leaders on the ground. We will take opinions from our own, and other, groups of Digital Leaders and use them to influence the production of modules that are useful and, most importantly, relevant, to the specifics of issues young people face. We do this so that the platform can better prepare Digital Leaders for informing their schools and other students in a productive manner. We will be the bridge and voice for comments from the participants of the programme, and we will also be involved in reaching people on a regional basis in the future. Overall, we want to make the programme as effective and as engaging as it can be in assistance to the team at Childnet.

Erin – What did we get up to on kick-off day?

When we reached Facebook HQ they took us upstairs and said we could help ourselves to any food. At first we were scared and took only two things each. Soon, we reached the room we were going to spend the majority of our day in. We sat down and all introduced ourselves to each other and then talked about what we were doing for the rest of the day. Soon after, we met Sophie England who spoke about her role at Facebook. We asked her a bunch of questions, some were too technical for her to answer so we wrote them down and gave it to her to get someone else to answer. After a long time of awkward silences, the atmosphere became lively and we started to laugh, we also talked about our strengths and weaknesses and how we can all bring something new to the team. Then, after talking about what we would be doing as Digital Champions, we went for lunch. There was a whole buffet and it told you what was healthy and gluten free. After we had lunch we had a tour and took pictures. We saw some amazing things and amazing technology. After the tour we finished up and were handed some gift bags from Childnet and a bag of pick and mix. Then, at three o’clock, we finished up and said our good byes. It was such an experience and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

Maryam – What are our next steps?

As Digital Champions our main goals are to inspire this generation on how to protect themselves from the dangers that are lurking within the internet. Of course, it is impossible to ban certain parts of the internet, yet if we can help and understand these it will be easier to ensure our safety on the internet. We’ve planned to meet with Digital Leaders across the country and we’ve already began planning a new module for the Digital Leaders Programme! Henceforth, this will hopefully enable others who share our burning passion for helping those in any way they can and inspire them to also become a Digital Champion after seeing some of our work.