Hundreds unite to take part in Safer Internet Day

Kids online web

Charities, politicians and celebrities call on young people to be more considerate online

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10th February 2015 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

A third of young people have suffered abuse online in the last year new research says.

Released by the organisers of Safer Internet Day, the UK Safer Internet Centre, the organisation is calling on Scottish school pupils to take control themselves to create a kinder online community.

Its Friendship in a Digital Age study found 30% of 11-16 year-olds experienced someone being mean to them online over the past 12 months.

A new film #Up2Us features schoolchildren sharing both their good and bad online experiences. It will premiere at a school in Falkirk today.

It is hoped it will inspire a generation to do something kind online today.

With all the pressure for young people to present themselves online as having the time of their lives and surrounded by hundreds of virtual friends it’s not easy to reach out if you need support

At Langlees Primary School, pupils will meet acting minister for children and young people Fiona McLeod.

Hundreds of individuals and organisations including the Scottish Government and Young Scot are supporting the Share a Smile Online social media campaign.

Backed by the likes of Britain’s Got Talent finalists Bars and Melody and Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle they all tweeted their own smile at 8am this morning (Tuesday).

Will Gardner, director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said: “We’re encouraging everyone to take action today – whether that’s sharing a smiley face or making a promise about your online behaviour.

“It really is up to us to make the internet a better place.”

Elsewhere on Safer Internet Day, NSPCC Scotland has highlighted its Share Aware campaign.

It aims to teach parents how to talk to their children about how they socialise online, and the risks involved with the many apps and social media sites available to them.

Launched last month, the campaign includes high profile TV adverts including "I Saw Your Willy" from NSPCC.

Matt Forde, head of services for NSPCC Scotland said: “With the focus on internet safety, it’s a great time to start those important conversations with your child to help create a better internet together.”

Young Minds, a young people’s mental health and wellbeing charity has called on teenagers and young people to look for signs that a friend is unhappy.

It has partnered with Talking Taboos Foundation to create a short film teaching young people the signs to look out for from what their friends are saying on social media.

Lucie Russell, director of media and campaigns at Young Minds said: “There is so much noise on social media that it’s often really hard to gauge how a friend is really feeling.

“With all the pressure for young people to present themselves online as having the time of their lives and surrounded by hundreds of virtual friends it’s not easy to reach out if you need support.”