The theme of Safer Internet Day in the UK this year looked at identity online and how young people manage, curate and navigate their online identity. Digital Leaders from five schools, a mixture of primary and secondary, attended the Safer Internet Day event at the BT Centre in London on 11th February.
Guests from the internet industry as well as services which support young people, government and policy attended the event which was organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre and hosted by Homyra, a Digital Leader from Mayfield School.
Digital Leader teams from Coopers School, Harris Academy Tottenham, Leigh Academy Blackheath, Stanburn Primary School and Woodcote Primary School attended and prepared and led activities around the theme of identity online for the guests, to encourage them to think about what this means to young people and whether everyone is free to be themselves online.
Digital Champions, Aimee and Cosima, were also in attendance to talk to guests about the Young People’s Charter. Take a look at our blog post about the Young People’s Charter and Digital Leaders’ involvement in the development of the charter here.
Young people give their thoughts on online safety
Homyra kicked off the event in the auditorium by welcoming everybody and introducing speeches from Marc Allera, CEO of Consumer Goods at BT, who spoke about how proud he was to host the event at the BT Centre as well as Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre. Will spoke about how important Safer Internet Day is, and how it can be used to to start conversations around young peoples’ lives online and talked about the breadth of activities that young people across the UK were doing to celebrate the day.
Will presented the Safer Internet Day research report, ‘Free To Be Me: piecing together identity online’ which looks at how young people manage, curate and navigate their online identity and highlighted the key findings from the research to the guests.
Aimee then delivered the youth keynote speech. She spoke about why she wanted to become a Digital Leader, what her new role as a Digital Champion involved as well as the importance of the theme of exploring online identity.
After the speeches, the guests were invited to take part in the Digital Leader led activities. Activities included drawing your own avatar to display your online persona, thinking about which scenarios are more likely to happen offline or online and looking at the things you do online that make up your online identity.
Guests received stickers for visiting each activity station. Aimee and Cosima also ran an activity which involved explaining the Young People’s Charter and asking the guests to make pledges in how they are going to champion the charter. Take a look at our blog post about the Young People’s Charter here.
Everyone then returned to the auditorium again for the final part of the event. This session involved a panel hosted by Natasha Devon MBE with panellists from a variety of organisations which support young people, such as The Mix, Girlguiding and Glitch. The Digital Leaders in attendance had prepared questions for the panel around the theme of how young people manage their online identities and what support there is for young people in managing their online lives. This created some great discussions among the panel.
The day was a huge success and we were so pleased to have so many Digital Leaders in attendance to lead the event and represent the entire Digital Leaders community. Thank you to the Digital Leaders who attended as well as their teachers and chaperones who supported their pupils on the day. Thank you also to the Digital Champions, Aimee and Cosima, for attending and speaking passionately about the Young People’s Charter, and to Aimee for her impressive key note speech. Thank you also to Homyra for being an excellent youth host, welcoming guests to the event and introducing speakers to the stage. All of the Digital Leaders in attendance were fantastic in their roles on the day.
Make sure to let us know what you did to celebrate Safer Internet Day in your school by emailing [email protected], so that we can include your activities in a Safer Internet Day roundup blog post!