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Type: Youth voice

Digital Champions tell us about their experience

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Three of Childnet's Digital Champions

Three of our Digital Champions – Aimee, Indira, and Lauren – are leaving their schools and the Digital Champions group. Although we are sad to see them go, we are confident that they will achieve great things! We recently caught up with them to learn about their experiences as Digital Champions.

What is your favourite thing you have done as a Digital Champion?

Aimee: I think my favourite thing to do as a Digital Champion would be between hosting the last Safer Internet Day in the BT Tower with Dominik, and speaking to MPs in Parliament with Cosima, because both allowed me to collaborate with people my age on a cause we cared deeply about whilst also educating a wider audience about issues we felt needed to be addressed.

Indira: My favourite thing is hard to identify because the opportunities I have had were all unforgettable. I loved Safer Internet Day both years and all of the meetings where I met new people and companies. I have learnt so many new things which I guess is my favourite thing.

Lauren: Aside from Safer Internet Day (which is always good fun), judging the Childnet Film Competition last year was amazing. Seeing all the creativity and talent these young people had and voicing the issues they wanted to in the video format was incredible and learning from the judges themselves was good too.

What is your most memorable moment as a Digital Champion?

Aimee: It would definitely be my first kick-off day as a Digital Champion because it was the first time I’d seen Facebook’s beautiful offices and also was the first time I met the team I would work with for the next 5 years! It was such a fun day full of amazing memories and the start of many long-lasting friendships.

Indira: My most memorable moment was Safer Internet Day! I was able to attend twice and was both part of a panel and then hosted the panels! It was amazing and the views from the top of the BT Tower in London were breathtaking and certainly nothing short of memorable!

Lauren: Safer Internet Day is always extremely memorable. I loved this year especially because I had multiple different opportunities to spread the messages I want to through doing media work. The day itself was memorable because I met up with some of the other Digital Champions in person (after seeing them online for such a long time) and other members of Childnet’s Youth Advisory Board. It was really inspiring to see so many youth voices being listened to.

What are you going on to do next?

Aimee: I’m going to study Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at Royal Holloway! I’m also going to continue my work in the online safety space, trying to come up with more solutions to issues brought up by young people every day!

Lauren: I am going on to sixth form to study maths, physics, and computer science as I have always loved those subjects. I am looking forward to opening more opportunities to use the skills and knowledge I have learned as a Digital Champion in the future.

What is your top piece of advice for someone thinking of applying to be a Digital Champion?

Aimee: Jump into the deep end and apply! As daunting as it may be at first, it will lead to so many amazing opportunities and priceless memories that you will never forget. It also gives you the platform to advocate for something you really care about.

Indira: My advice would be go for it! The platform gives young people a voice they otherwise would not have and it’s great fun!

Lauren: My top piece of advice as you become a Digital Champion would be to take every opportunity you get. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone quite a few times as a Digital Champion and have gained so much confidence and public speaking skills as a result. And to add to that, the team behind the Digital Champions and the other Digital Champions themselves are always really supportive so they always help out. As for applying to be a Digital Champion, I’d recommend you to consider a couple of things that you really care about and want to change, then speak about those because it really shows your passion for the role and what you will do with it.

You can watch our Digital Champions webinar, where they answered questions from our Digital Leaders, by clicking here. Applications are now open to join our group of Digital Champions for 2023-24! More information, including the Information and Application pack, application form, and parent/carer consent forms can be found on our website. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at leaders@childnet.com.

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Applications to become a Digital Champion for 2022-23 are now open!

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Do you want to make real change? Do you want to have a chance to talk to industry about what young people want? Do you want an opportunity to shape the future of the Digital Leaders Programme? If this sounds like you then apply to be a Digital Champion today! You can find out more about the role and the application process in our information pack.

The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme is proud to be a youth-led and youth focused programme. However, we are continually striving to make it even better – this is where our Digital Champions come in!

Our Digital Champions represent the entire Digital Leader community from across the UK. They meet and collaborate with other Digital Leaders outside of their school and they are Childnet’s ‘go-to’ group for new and exciting developments on the platform and the programme. If you have great ideas about developing new modules and activities on the platform and would like first-hand access to fun and engaging opportunities, then being a Digital Champion is the role for you!

In addition to all of these awesome perks, Digital Champions may have the opportunity to be involved in regional and national events as well as speak with and give advice to big tech companies and schools on how to keep other young people safe online. Digital Champions also receive top class support from the Childnet Digital Leaders team and other Digital Champions too throughout.

You can find out more about our current Digital Champions here and their involvement in Safer Internet Day 2022 here.

All we ask from you is that you commit for 1 year from December 2022 – November 2023. During this year, we would require a minimum commitment of one video call per month as well as additional participation work – this shouldn’t take any more than 6 hours per month. For more information on this, please check out the information pack.

If you answered yes to all of the questions at the start, and believe you have what it takes to become a Digital Champion, then please fill out the consent forms included in the information pack, fill out the online form at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/X8T7TRQ, and return all your signed consent forms to [email protected] by Friday 11th November.

We are super excited to hear from you and receive your applications. Good luck!

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Childnet Digital Leader congratulated by Caroline Lucas MP

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Childnet Digital Leaders made a huge impression on Safer Internet Day 2022 – even receiving congratulatory letters from MPs!

Once again, young people were at the heart of the day, which is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology.

Digital Leaders and Digital Champions helped to ensure that the voice of young people was championed in a range of events across the UK, by:

  • Joining a youth panel for the Safer Internet Day 2022 livestream event at BT Tower
  • Taking part in media interviews which were broadcast across 70 radio stations, reaching a potential audience of 2.4 million people
  • Contributing to the Safer Internet Day 2022 Research and Young People’s Charter

Amongst the Childnet Digital Leaders involved was Alisa, who joined MPs for a Q&A event to share her experiences of being online and her recommendations for how this space can be improved for young people.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, was particularly impressed, and took the time to send Alisa a letter congratulating her on being involved in the day:

Dear Alisa,

I am writing to you as your MP to offer my warmest congratulations on your participation as a Digital Leader at the Safer Internet Day Q&A event earlier this month.

I’m very sorry I couldn’t join you, but I wanted to let you know that I’m incredibly proud of young people in Brighton – such as yourself – for sharing their experiences with technology and the online world.

Conversations around online safety are particularly crucial for children and young people who have had to spend much of their time online over the past two years due to the pandemic – and thank you for stepping up and showing such leadership.

The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme is an excellent opportunity to empower young people and their peers to talk about online safety in schools, and for MPs to hear from about real life experiences and be better informed to make important policy decisions that will affect future generations.

Thank you again for your hard work in this area, and I wish you all the best for the remainder of your training programme and beyond.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline

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Applications to become a Digital Champion for 2021-22 are now open!

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Do you have a passion for promoting online safety? Do you have a desire to help other young people? Do you have knowledge of the Childnet Digital Leaders online platform? Then this exciting new role is the one for you!

The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme is proud to be a youth-led and youth focused programme. However, we are continually striving to make it even better – this is where our Digital Champions come in!

Our Digital Champions represent the entire Digital Leader community from across the UK. They meet and collaborate with other Digital Leaders outside of their school and they are Childnet’s ‘go-to’ group for new and exciting developments on the platform and the programme. If you have great ideas about developing new modules and activities on the platform and would like first-hand access to fun and engaging opportunities, then being a Digital Champion is the role for you!

In addition to all of these awesome perks, Digital Champions may have the opportunity to be involved in regional and national events as well as speak with and give advice to big tech companies and schools on how to keep other young people safe online – wow!

You may be thinking this is a little daunting? But have no fear, as you will receive top class support from the Childnet Digital Leaders team and other Digital Champions too throughout.

You can find out more about our current Digital Champions here and their involvement in Safer Internet Day 2021 here and here.

All we ask from you is that you commit for 1 year from December 2021-November 2022. During this year, we would require a minimum commitment of one video call per month as well as additional participation work – this shouldn’t take any more than 6 hours per month. For more information on this, please check out the information pack.

If you answered yes to all of the questions at the start, and believe you have what it takes to become a Digital Champion, then please fill out the application form included in the information pack, fill out the online form at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YFQQSKH (you may need to copy and paste link), and return all your signed consent forms by Friday 19th November.

We are super excited to hear from you and receive your applications. Good luck!

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We asked our Digital Champions about their highlights of being peer leaders over the last year

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The Digital Champions are the youth ambassadors of the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme. Childnet work closely with them to ensure that the programme is youth-led, they have  opportunities to represent the Digital Leader community in many ways, including at events and in consultations. You can find out more about the Digital Champions here.

In this blog we ask some of the Digital Champions about their experience in the role this year, including highlights and how they have found taking part in the group throughout the COVID-19 school closures. Thank you to Cosima, Jess and Aimee for their insightful and thoughtful responses, which you can read below.

What has been your highlight of your Digital Champion role this year? ‌

Cosima: For me my biggest highlight was either presenting our charter at Westminster to the MPs or talking to Baroness Nicky Morgan at the BT centre event on Safer Internet Day!

It was such a unique experience that not many people my age would get to do!

At first talking to the MPs was a little daunting but as the day progressed I became a lot more fluent in what I was saying, I guess practice makes perfect! In addition, once Aimee went on to go and do her speech, and I had to do everything solo, I felt kind of proud of myself for being able to do that!

As it I was talking about something I was passionate about when it came to doing our stand at the event, I found it quite rewarding in a way to get the message across to so many different representatives of different companies. Oh and a bonus was that I was on the news hehe!

How have you found your Digital Champion role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic? ‌

Jess: During the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have had to adapt in many ways, including the way we work and communicate. Although we haven’t been able to meet up in person a huge amount this year, by communicating online, the Digital Champions team has been able to keep in touch and continue to make a change. Personally, I feel as though being able to communicate more online has brought me closer to the team and made me feel like I am making a bigger impact with what I do. With more people using the online world as a way to chat with friends and work from home, we have been working hard to support our peers and other young people who are spending more time online and make sure they are safe and well. I feel like my role during this time has made me a more well-rounded person, and has helped me develop my communication and teamwork skills, despite only communicating through a screen. The rest of the team have done an awesome job of keeping us all informed and updated throughout this time, and I have felt more confident in my role than ever before. Although this has been an uncertain time for us all, I have felt more connected with not only my friends, but the rest of the Digital Champions and Childnet team and through more online communication, I have felt a bigger part of the team and a more confident person.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying to be a Digital Champion next year?

Aimee: If I could say one thing to someone who is thinking of applying to be a digital champion, I would say don’t allow any feelings of doubt, worry or anything else put you off it because it has been my best experience! It feels like a close family and you get to take part in a range of new and enjoyable opportunities that teach you so many skills as well as putting you in really influential positions with the ability to help and teach many people from all over. I’ve loved it so much and I would recommend it to everyone so, to everyone reading this, definitely try it!! 🙂

Thank you to our Digital Champions for sharing their thoughts on how they have found their role over the year. If you are interested in becoming a Digital Champion next year, then keep your eyes peeled for the next round of applications due to open in September.

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Digital Leaders share their thoughts on the programme

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The Digital Champions are Digital Leaders from across the country who were successful in applying to be youth ambassadors of the Digital Leaders Programme, representing the Digital Leader community and supporting the Childnet team. Find out more about the Digital Champions and their role within the programme here.

Some of our Digital Champions created videos to share their thoughts on the programme and particularly the youth leadership element.

Below you can watch the videos created by the Digital Champions, where they share their thoughts on the programme.

Cosima:

Aimee:

Jess:

Thank you to Cosima, Aimee and Jess for creating and sharing these wonderful videos.

If you are interested in the leadership opportunity the programme will provide for your pupils and the impact the programme could have on online safety education throughout your whole school, then take a look at how the programme works and register your interest for more information. Once you have registered your interest, you can request access to a free guest login to our gamified online platform which is training thousands of young people to lead online safety conversations in their schools and beyond.

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Young people give advice on how to keep well during school closures

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During school closures young people (and adults alike) are having to adapt to changes to their usual day-to-day lives. Most young people are spending more time at home, and more time online. We asked our Digital Champions for their advice for other young people on how to keep well during this period.

The Digital Champions are Digital Leaders from across the country who were successful in applying to be ambassadors of the Digital Leaders Programme, representing the Digital Leader community and supporting the Childnet team.

Below you can read the fantastic and creative ideas the Childnet Digital Champions shared:

Cosima, 14

My top tips for these testing times are – ‌

  • Keep occupied – The Olympics are cancelled, do your own! Create activities for you and your family in your garden or living room! It’s exercise but fun 🙂
  • Watch Netflix, watch cheesy shows to cheer you up! ‌
  • Try not to focus on the bad figures – While there are live tolls of the numbers of cases, there are also live tolls on the recovered cases, try to keep track of that 🙂
  • Download zoom or Houseparty to stay in touch with friends and family – We are so lucky to have the internet and technology during these tough times so make the most of it! Use your phones and iPads to keep in touch with your friends and family! Especially grandparents, they are the ones who are likely to be alone so your video call could really lift both yours and their spirits! ‌
  • Self-care – Do a face mask, buy yourself a nice bit of makeup to make yourself look gorgeous – for you! Get some chocolate on amazon or even a new football, we can’t go out so treat yourself 🙂 ‌
  • Talk to someone if you’re feeling down! If you’re worried or anxious tell a parent or a friend, worries are not one of those things that you want to keep to yourself, let it out and you will feel much better about it!

 

Bella, 18

I have been setting myself up with a routine daily in terms of what I want to get accomplished. It’s really helped me, because I think as school-oriented people who have been taken out of that environment quite suddenly, we do suffer from not having an element of structure in our lives even when there’s not so much we need to do. The way to do this is not necessarily to plan things out by time but set yourself a couple of goals, if there’s something you particularly want/have wanted to do/learn etc.

I’m finding that learning a language and taking daily classes on Duolingo is something positive I can work towards daily and over a larger span of time. ‌

I would also say sleeping too much is a classic mistake – waking up so that you have a good portion of the day ahead of you is massively important, because as students we’re sort of oriented to a very regular pattern of waking/sleeping and if we disturb that it makes us feel as though there’s less obligation to get things done.

Achievement really helps stave off feeling negative; it’s something positive you can do for yourself and only for yourself, which is something we don’t often get time to do day-to-day.

 

Jess, 13

My top tips for keeping well during these times are to be aware of the media content you’re consuming, stay in touch and be kind to yourself. ‌ It is of course important to stay up to date with the news and make sure you have a sense of awareness of what is happening in the world, but too much media exposure can do more harm than good. Be aware of the amount of media you’re consuming, by staying up to date, but also not letting your enjoyment online be ruined by constant news and media exposure. ‌

Staying in touch with friends and family can also really help with feeling alone in these uncertain times. I have found myself becoming closer to my friends and more appreciative of spending time with them due to new ways of connecting. Try a video call, or plan something different such as a virtual quiz night! There are lots of fun ways to stay connected online. ‌

And finally, be kind to yourself. Know that it is okay to feel worried and alone during times like these, but also remember that it won’t be like this forever, and it will get better. Please talk to someone you trust if you ever feel as though things are getting too much, because you matter and even though times can be tough, please be kind to yourself.

 

Thank you to Cosima, Bella and Jess for sharing their fantastic top tips.  We hope these tips help other young people who are spending a lot more time at home.  If your team of Digital Leaders have top tips you would like to share please email [email protected].

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The Revised Childnet Film Competition 2020 – Home education during COVID-19

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As schools remain closed, we know that many families are looking for projects they can do that are fun, educational and that children can do independently.  To help with this we have redesigned the Childnet Film Competition for 2020.

Updated for use at home

You can now create great educational films as a home learning project, with categories that can also be used in school for those who are still attending school.

To make this work we have extended the closing date to 22nd June 2020 and created three brand new categories; one for solo entrants, one as a project for a group, and finally, a chance to create a storyboard and script.

All young people entering must focus their content on this year’s themeWe want an internet where we’re free to…

Taking a look at the new categories

To help young people get involved no matter what setting they are in, we have created these three new categories which can be entered by anyyoung people.

Solo category – where young people aged 7-18 can make their own film.

Group category – which could involve siblings, other family members or friend groups aged 3-18.

Storyboard category – young people aged 7-18 can create a short storyboard and script for a film idea.

What equipment do you need to enter?

The short answer – none!

The slightly longer answer – The key aim of the competition is to enable young people to learn about positive use of the internet and continue to create fantastic content to educate their peers.

As always, the films won’t be judged on the camera used or the audio quality, they are judged on the message and educational value.

We are encouraging young people to make a film using whatever technology they have available to them, whether that is a mobile phone, camera, tablet, or webcam.

We also understand that some young people may prefer to enter without using technology, so the new storyboard category means they can enter the competition with a script and storyboard for a short film.

How is the competition judged?

Once you have created your film or storyoard then it is time to send it to us. Please send all the files to us at [email protected] by 5pm on Monday 22nd June. Please do not post any entries, entry forms or consent forms this year.

If your film is too large to email to us, you can share it with us by using sites like Dropbox and WeTransfer.

All content will be judged by our prestigious judging panel, made up of David Austin (BBFC), Lisa Prime (BAFTA), Catherine McAllister (BBC) and Mark Reid (BFI).

KEY DATES:

Competition closes: 22nd June 2020

Finalists announced: 29th June 2020
Judges’ verdict: 3rd July 2020

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Roblox expert answers young peoples’ questions about the games platform

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We are happy to announce that our first Digital Leaders Industry Q&A is now live on both our primary and secondary Digital Leaders training platforms! Our first Q&A is with Laura Higgins, Director of Community Safety and Digital Civility at Roblox. Find out more about Laura here.

In this first series of Q&A videos, Laura answers questions submitted by both Primary and Secondary Digital Leaders about things such as safety and security on the Roblox platform. Thank you to all of the Digital Leaders who submitted questions for Laura to answer. We received lots of really excellent and thoughtful questions and were only able to film Laura answering a few. You can watch the videos below:

Laura, Roblox – Industry Q&A part 1

Laura, Roblox – Industry Q&A part 2

Laura, Roblox – Industry Q&A part 3

Look out for future Industry Q&A videos featuring industry insiders answering questions from the Digital Leaders community!

We have also worked in collaboration with Roblox to develop our ‘Safer Gaming’ module for Primary Digital Leaders which has been launched alongside this Industry Q&A. The module was developed by the Childnet team with support from Roblox, in response to feedback from Digital Leaders and their teachers. We worked with the Digital Leaders team at Sellincourt Primary School who did a fantastic job in helping us to develop the module.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to answer Digital Leaders’ questions and thank you to Roblox for supporting the Digital Leaders Programme.

Let us know who your Digital Leaders would like to hear from for future Industry Q&As! And if you have any feedback, thoughts or suggestions for future module topics, or would like to help us develop a future module please do get in touch at [email protected].

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Digital Champions meet to plan the year ahead and represent the Digital Leader Community – Part 2

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The Childnet Digital Champions are Jess, Bella, Maryam, Niah, Oyinkan, Cosima and Aimee. They are a group of Digital Leaders from across the country who were successful in applying to be ambassadors of the Digital Leaders Programme, representing the Digital Leader community and supporting the Childnet team. The Digital Champions had their kick-off day on 23rd January at Facebook offices and the day was a chance for the young people to get to know each other, find out what to expect in their role as a Digital Champion and lots more!

Here is part two of two blog posts written by the Digital Champions which explains what they got up to on the kick-off day and what to expect from them in the coming months. Hear from Aimee and Maryam in this blog post and look back at part one to hear from the other Digital Champions.

  • How did we become Digital Champions?

Aimee: We all had heard about the opportunity from various places, I received an email about it but I know it was also in the newsletters as well. We first did a survey answering questions about our involvement with the Digital Leaders Programme, our aspirations and our inspirations. Not long after we were chosen for interviews where we answered a few more questions about us as well as what parts of the Digital Leaders Programme we wanted to improve and finished with an activity where we had to plan a Safer Internet Day workshop. At the end of this, the successful applicants all received emails saying we had become Digital Champions which was incredibly exciting! Personally I found the process really fun and I would recommend every interested Digital Leader should try it next time.

  • What are you going to do as a Digital Champion in your school?

Maryam: As a Digital Champion in my school, I think what’s mainly important for us right now is settling the new students and new Digital Leaders into what the role entails. We aren’t only trying to combat internet safety, but internet equality – after all, it is a basic human right and is something that we all deserve, regardless of being offline or online. Currently my school are developing a scheme trying to combat this and spreading the message to our Year 7s and other younger years. Our inspiration mainly stemmed from not only my original goal as a Digital Champion – which was wanting a more positive internet, but what I heard from the other Digital Champions during the kick-off day. Their ideas of equality really struck something in me and has given me the courage to share it with my school. This is an on-going project and I hope that we are able to not only represent this for Safer Internet Day, but for all of our time at school.

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