The experience of our Digital Champions, Youth Ambassadors for the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme
Published: 3rd October 2019
We have an exciting opportunity for qualified Digital Leaders to join our team of Digital Champions! Digital Champions are a group of Secondary Digital Leaders from across the UK who act as ambassadors for the programme.
The Digital Champions support the Childnet team with programme development, ensuring that the programme is youth led, they also represent Digital Leaders at events and in consultations. Our current Digital Champions have been involved in many aspects of the programme, from presenting at Regional Events to advising on platform developments and new modules!
If you are a Secondary Digital Leader and would like more responsibility in your role and to contribute towards the development of the programme, then don’t hesitate to apply to be a Digital Champion for 2019-20!
How have our current Digital Champions found the experience?
We asked our current Digital Champions how they have found the experience and whether they have any advice for Digital Leaders interested in applying to be a Digital Champion. See their answers below:
What has been the best part of being a Digital Champion?
Jess: The best part of being a Digital Champion for me has to be being able to reach a wider audience and feeling like you’re actually making an impact. There are so many opportunities and so many thing to be a part of that you may never have thought you would do. Plus, the fact that you can reach so many more people with your message empowers me and my Digital Leaders team to try even harder to spread the word of positive Internet use.
Bella: Definitely the sense of responsibility, and the ability to impact the community in a meaningful way. Your responsibility for your Digital Leaders in your school, on top of the general oversight of others across schools internationally, produces better leadership qualities and consideration for others’ opinions, and an appreciation for the value of perspectives unavailable to you on issues we all face.
Erin: Getting to know new people and to be able to see the structure more clearly in the internet.
Maryam: Reaping the smiles that come from it! I’m a sentimental person and love more than anything, when other’s find happiness in something that I’ve helped them in. Such as growing in my role as a Digital Leader and even helping others with their own queries.
What is the biggest skill you have gained from being a Digital Champion?
Bella: The ability to listen to others’ perspectives, and really hear them. The exposure to different groups of young people’s opinions on issues you’re already comfortable with are so diverse depending on their personal circumstances, and being able to construct resolutions to issues by visiting schools and by speaking to various DLs online really means you’re able to produce an effect greater than the sum of everyone’s parts.
Maryam: I’ve been able to grow in my confidence and public speaking. It even helped me to perform a speech to people a lot older than me! I can speak to audiences without feeling scared and do it with a smile!
Erin: I understand social media more and what I should keep in my head rather than on screen.
Jess: I think the biggest skill I have gained from being a Digital Champion is Communication Skills. Having to communicate from my Digital Leaders team to Childnet and back again really challenged my Communication Skills and I believe that I have become a more organised, persistent and skilled person because of it.
What would you say to someone thinking about applying to be a Digital Champion?
Jess: If you’re thinking of applying to be a Digital Champion, my advice is to just go for it. But be prepared to work hard and commit to the position because it is a lot of work, but trust me. It. Pays. Off. It has been one of the best experiences of my life and you feel like you really can change something. You never know where this programme may take you, and what you can achieve while doing it so I say that there is no time like the present to get started. Princess Diana quoted “Young people can change the world” and, being part of the Digital Champions team, I have started to believe that’s true.
Bella: Do it! If you’re thinking of applying, you are already comfortable with the idea of being in a position of responsibility – but I would say the role does require a lot of communication interpersonally with DLs and the Childnet team. If you’re like me, someone who started out quite uncertain, it is difficult to go forward with a risk like that, but I have developed immensely from the experience in a way unparalleled by other methods of overcoming fears of public speaking, communication etc., and I would encourage those people who would love to do it and are passionate about digital safety, but who are maybe intimidated, to go and apply the most. If you think you have an opinion or a perspective that you don’t see much elsewhere on digital safety, that makes you especially valuable.
Erin: Make sure its something you want to do! (…) It is a great experience and it makes you a better person online. It also teaches you a new structure to the format.
Maryam: I’d say go for it! Even if you have any doubts, what’s the harm in applying? The worst that could happen is nothing compared to what you’ve been through. Who knows? You might become one of us and be able to help others just like you!