Inquiry into the Impact of Cyberbullying on Social Media on Children and Young People’s Mental Health Published

Last year, Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, in partnership with YoungMinds and The Children’s Society, set up an inquiry into the impact of cyberbullying on children and young people’s mental health.

A survey, published today was carried out by YoungMinds and The Children’s Society; the inquiry took oral and written evidence from young people – including an online survey of 1,089 young people aged 11-25 – social media companies, mental health experts and children’s charities in order to explore the impact of cyberbullying on children and young people’s mental health. Its panel included cross-party MPs and vlogger Grace Victory, who has spoken out about abuse she has received online.

  • 62% of respondents were under the age of 18;
  • Three-quarters of respondents were female (75%);
  • Almost half of respondents (45%) said that they had experienced a mental health problem in the past.

One 15-year-old girl said:

You kind of expect to experience it: nasty comments on the selfie, Facebook posts and Twitter posts, people screen grabbing your Snapchat story to laugh about it… I feel like it’s something people don’t take seriously. But leaving just one nasty comment could really hurt someone.

Social media companies should take complaints more seriously. If someone reports something, they shouldn’t take days to review it, they should literally just remove it straight away. The reaction from adults is just delete your account to stop the bullying, but that’s taking something away from that young person’s life for something that’s not their fault.

What the survey revealed

  • 61% of young people stated that they had their first accounts at age 12 or under, despite guidelines for social media sites stating that you must be 13 years old to have an account.
  • In total, 44% of the young people surveyed stated that they spend more than three hours per day on social media.
  • One in ten (9%) young people surveyed admitted logging on after midnight every night; one young person said it was “almost like a drug”. Young people giving evidence to the inquiry described feeling judged and inadequate if they didn’t have enough likes or followers.
  • 62% of respondents said that social media had a positive impact on their friendships.
    • However, 38% of young people reported that social media had a negative impact on how they feel about themselves, more than those who reported it having a positive impact (23%).

Experiences of cyberbullying

  • Almost half (47%) of young people surveyed had experienced threatening, intimidating or nasty messages via social media, email or text. 
  • In total, 39% of young people reported having personal experience of online bullying in their lifetime, in contrast to 49% who reported experience of off-line bullying.
  • 27% of young people reported personal experience of online bullying within the last year.
  • In total, 60% of young people reported having seen somebody be harassed or bullied online.
  • An overwhelming majority of young people surveyed (83%) said that social media companies should do more to tackle cyberbullying on social media, whilst only 6% of young people disagreed with this.

What should be done

The report  identified a number of issues that need to be addressed to ensure that social media companies play their part – together with Government, schools, families and industry – in creating a digital environment that limits the prevalence of cyberbullying and its negative impacts on children and young people.

The report has made a number of recommendations to social media companies, and to the Government to ensure that the online world is a safe and enjoyable place for children and young people.

Summary of recommendations

  1. The Government requires social media companies to ensure that their platforms are age-appropriate, and that children and young people understand how their data will be used;
  2. Social media companies enable children and young people to understand their rights and responsibilities including their behaviour towards others.
  3. Social media companies provide timely, effective and consistent responses to online bullying
  4. The Government improves accountability by requiring social media companies to publish data about their response to reports of online bullying
  5. Social media companies prioritise the promotion of children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing across their platforms
  6. The Government commissions additional research into the scale of online bullying, and its impact on children and young people
  7. The Government puts children’s experiences at the heart of internet safety policy development
  8. The Government educates children and young people to be safe and responsible online, and to know how to respond positively to online harms such as cyberbullying.
Posted in 2018, Children and Young People, Cyberbullying, e-Safety, Mental Health, Online Safety, Online Stress (FOMO), Research, Secondary, Social Media, Social Networking, Survey | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Childnet call on young people to ‘Connect with respect’ and enter their Film Competition

Childnet has launched their ninth Film Competition to encourage young people aged 7-18 to create a short film to educate their peers about staying safe online.

With the aim of encouraging young people to have respectful interactions online, the competition gives young people the opportunity to harness their creativity and share their understanding of online safety issues.

Judged by a panel of experts from the BBC, BAFTA, BBFC and BFI, the winning films will be shown at the finalists’ event in London and will be used as educational resources in schools across the UK.

This year’s theme focuses on how young people can ‘connect with respect’ and work together to make the better place for children and young people.

Important dates:

  • Competition opens: Wednesday 21st February
  • Competition closes: Monday 11th June
  • Finalists notified: Monday 18th June
  • Screening and finalist’s event at the BFI: Tuesday 3rd July

Connect with respect – how to take part

The Film Competition is split into two age categories and schools or youth organisations must oversee and submit entries on behalf of all participants. For both categories, young people must create a film in response to the theme:  ‘Connect with respect – a better internet starts with us!’

For both age groups, Childnet are looking for creative, imaginative films which show how young people can make a positive difference online. Young people might express their ideas through comedy, animation, or music. They are encouraged to consider different filmmaking styles such as creating an advert, campaign or documentary.

Childnet have developed resource packs including storyboard templates, guides to filmmaking and other useful documents to help schools and youth organisations engage and support young people in making their films.

Closing date and how to enter

To enter the Childnet Film Competition please send an email to to request an information pack. If you would like any more information, or find out more and download the schools packs visit

Entries need to be sent to Childnet by 11th June, including entry and media consent forms which can be found at There is also important information about copyright that entrants will need to consider.

Finalists Screening Event and Prizes

The shortlisted films will be shown on the big screen in front of industry guests and young people at the Childnet Film Competition 2018 Event at the BFI London Southbank and will also receive a BBFC rating.

The Film Competition winners will each receive a filmmaking kit for their school which includes a Canon DSLR camera, tripod and clapperboard.

The winners will be decided by an expert panel which includes:

  • Catherine McAllister, Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection at BBC Children’s
  • David Austin OBE, Chief Executive of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)
  • Joanna van der Meer, Film Tutor and Family Learning Programmer at BFI Southbank
  • Lisa Prime, Children’s Events Programmer at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)
Posted in 2018, Childnet, Competition, Online Safety, Primary, Schools, Secondary, Young People | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Inquiry into the impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health launched

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has announced an inquiry into the impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health. The committee says it wants to hear the views of young people themselves, as well as of teachers and youth workers.

Chairman, Norman Lamb, said it was vital to assess the benefits and risks; “Social media and smartphones are increasingly being used by children and young people. We want to determine the scale of the issues – separating out the understandable concerns from the hard evidence, and to identify what practical measures people are already taking to boost the benefits and blunt the potential harms. We want to hear from schools and young people, as well as from the industry and government.

The committee is particularly keen to hear details of any initiatives undertaken, by children, schools and youth organisations, to help young people cope with the demands of the digital world.

Other issues the MPs would welcome thoughts on include:

  • the wellbeing benefits from social media usage, including any apps that provide mental-health benefits to users
  • the physical or mental harms from social media use and screen-use, including safety risks and the extent of any addictive behaviour
  • any measures being used, or needed, to mitigate any potential harmful effects of excessive screen-use
  • what monitoring, controls or regulation are needed and where responsibility and accountability should lie for such measures
  • areas that should be the focus of any further research

Schools, children and young people, professionals or other organisations who would like to submit written views to the inquiry should do so – in no more than 3,000 words – through the committee’s inquiry page by 6 April.

Schools and settings may find this to be a valuable opportunity to work together with children and young people, to explore their views and experiences in the online world and to formulate a response.

Posted in 2018, Colleges, Colleges and sixth forms, Consultation, Early Years, Education Leaders and Managers, Government, Independent Schools, Online Safety, Primary, Schools, Screen-time, Secondary, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online Safety Briefing: Term 3 2017-18 #esafety #onlinesafety

This is the 3rd edition (January-February) of the Kent Education Safeguarding Team’s Online Safety briefings 2017-18. The aim of these posts is to help Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) in educational settings keep up to date with of some of the emerging online safety issues and research which may be of interest.

The following links are not endorsed, controlled or promoted by Kent County Council. This briefing should not be shared or forwarded directly to pupils or parents/carers due to the sensitive and potentially distressing nature of some content.

Before sharing content that names specific apps or websites, we recommend DSLs access the following links:

National Updates

Articles and Research


Gaming and Gambling

Peer on Peer Abuse 

Professional Conduct

Self Esteem and Mental Health 

Sexual Abuse and Grooming

Social Media and Technology

Educational Content

Teaching Materials, Tools and Videos

Resources for Parent/Carers


Additional content is also featured on the Safer Internet Day 2018 round-up available here.

Posted in 2018, Briefing, Colleges and sixth forms, e-Safety, Early Years, Education Leaders and Managers, Independent Schools, Online Safety, Parents, Primary, Research, Resources, Safeguarding, Schools, Secondary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Safer Internet Day 2018 Round-up

On Tuesday 6th February 2018, the world celebrated Safer Internet Day 2018. Safer Internet Day (SID) is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre and this year’s theme was “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”.

To celebrate the day, many organisations and services produced new resources and content to help raise awareness and spread positive messages. This blog post aims to highlight resources and content made available on or for SID 2018; schools and settings may find these resources helpful in the curriculum planning or to share with  children and parents/carers.


UK Safer Internet Centre:


CBBC: Own it (KS2/3)

CBBC Grown Ups

Internet Matters:


Best of the rest!

Please leave links below to any resources from national organisations that we may have missed: the best suggested might be added to the post!

Note: some content will also be featured on the Jan/Feb Online Safety briefing .

Posted in 2018, Briefing, e-Safety, Resources, Safer Internet Day, Schools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New research commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre published about ‘Digital Friendships’ #SID2018

New research into Digital Friendships  commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre, has been published to mark Safer Internet Day 2018. The research has revealed that young people are more likely to have a positive experience than a negative experience when online.

The study, which surveyed 2,000 8-17 year olds on their feelings and attitudes towards social media, revealed that despite the often-publicised negative effects of social media use, the internet plays a pivotal and positive role in how young people develop relationships and maintain their social lives in 2018.

  • Two in five 8-17-year-olds say they have felt worried or anxious on the internet in the last week, with one in ten (11%) reporting they have often felt this
  • 68% of young people said that chatting to their friends online cheers them up
  • When a friend was feeling sad or upset, 88% of young people said they sent them a kind message
  • Almost half (49%) of young people said that in the last year someone had been mean to them online, with 1 in 12 experiencing this all or most of the time
  • In comparison, more than four in five young people (83%) have experienced people being kind to them online in the last year

Reporting on young people’s online experiences, the research shows that respondents have felt inspired (74%), excited (82%) or happy (89%) as a result of their internet use in the past week. In contrast, a smaller proportion reported to have felt sad (56%) or angry (52%) by what they came across online in the last seven days.

When things do go wrong, young people feel confident to reach out to their networks for support and guidance, with 60% saying they talk to friends when someone upsets them online. Slightly higher, 62% turn to their parents and carers for guidance.

Young people also feel passionately about their online community with almost four in five (78%) of those surveyed claiming to believe that every person on the internet has a responsibility to be respectful to others. Demonstrating empathy and support online, 88% said that when a friend was feeling sad or upset they had sent a kind message. More than half (54%) said they’d feel isolated if they couldn’t talk to their friends via technology.

However, many young people also face bullying, exclusion and a range of pressures to maintain their friendships and popularity. Almost half (47%) of respondents said that people had excluded them online in the last year, with 60% thinking it is important for friends to include them in group chats. Almost three-quarters (73%), say it’s important for their friends to reply to their messages as soon as they’ve seen them. Still, many young people are rejecting these pressures with 35% saying that they do not feel they must use social media to be popular or liked.

With reforms to Relationships and Sex Education on the horizon, it’s positive to see the majority (72%) of young people wanted their school to teach them about cyberbullying and how to manage friendships online. However, one in ten of those surveyed say that they have not been taught this in school.

This research comes as Safer Internet Day 2018 was being celebrated globally on Tuesday 6th February 2018 with the slogan “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”.  The UK Safer Internet Centre – comprised of Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation and South West Grid for Learning – believe that the key to continuing the positive use of the internet is to empower young people with the skills they need to navigate the online world in a safe and respectful way, and to ensure schools, parents and carers and other members of the children’s workforce have the tools to support young people to do so.

Will Gardner, a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, says:

It’s clear that technology is having an impact on how young people develop relationships, interact with each other and express themselves. Today’s findings are encouraging, highlighting that the majority of young people’s experiences of the internet are positive in this regard. However we also see that there is a negative side, including where young people face pressures in their online friendships.

Safer Internet Day gives us the unique opportunity to collectively promote respect and empathy online, inspire young people to harness their enthusiasm and creativity, and support them to build positive online experiences for everyone. It is inspirational to see so many different organisations and individuals come together today to build a better internet. We want to make sure that every young person feels equipped and empowered to make positive decisions when interacting online – be it on gaming sites, messaging apps or social sharing platforms.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries says:

As today’s figures show, the Internet can and does have a positive effect on young people’s lives but we must all recognise the dangers that can be found online. Only by working together can government, industry, parents, schools and communities harness the power of the internet for good and reduce its risks. It is fantastic to see this ambition reflected on Safer Internet Day with hundreds of organisations coming together across the UK to raise awareness and empower young people.

Posted in 2018, Online Safety, Research, Safer Internet Day, Schools | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

UKCCIS Education working group publish ‘Education for a Connected World: A framework to equip children and young people for digital life’ #SID2018

As part of the celebrations for Safer Internet Day 2018, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) have announced they have published a new online safety guide for those working with children, including school leaders and teachers, to prepare young people for digital life. The guide is available to download via the UKCCIS website or as a PDF here.

The ‘ Education for a connected world’ framework provides guidance on eight different aspects of online education:

  • Self-image and identity
  • Online relationships;
  • Online reputation;
  • Online bullying,
  • Managing online information;
  • Health, wellbeing and lifestyle;
  • Privacy and security, and;
  • Copyright and ownership.

The Framework has been developed by members of the UKCCIS Education Working Group. The UKCCIS Education Working Group brings together ten leading organisations in online safety in education:, Barnardo’s, CEOP (the child protection command of the National Crime Agency), Childnet, Department for Education, Kent County Council, the NSPCC, Parent Zone, the PSHE Association, South West Grid for Learning and the UK Safer Internet Centre. It focuses on how education settings in the UK are responding to the challenges of keeping their pupils safe online.

Jonathan Baggaley, CEO of the PSHE Association said: ‘We’re delighted to have supported the development of the UKCCIS framework. Education plays a critical role in preparing young people for the opportunities and challenges of this rapidly changing digital world. The UKCCIS framework provides an invaluable tool for teachers, supporting them to plan a developmental curriculum which will help children to thrive online.’

Ken Corish, Online Safety Director at South West Grid for Learning said: ‘Children and young people use technology in empowering and sophisticated ways in online environments that have become increasingly complex. Our approach to educating in this area requires a sophistication to match; it should resonate; be relevant and prompt the outcomes that affect cultural change. This UKCCIS framework has been designed to identify those opportunities for anyone shaping their teaching in this area from very young children right through to young adults. It brings the current online technology landscape into one document and maps those opportunities against age/developmental stage. We think it is both challenging and relevant and hope it assists in creating online technology education that makes a difference.’

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said: ‘Barnardo’s welcomes this framework for educators to help children and young people of all ages stay safe and have a positive experience online. The fast-moving digital world puts increasing pressures on children which can affect their self-image and make them vulnerable to potential bullying and grooming online. This UKCCIS framework should be used by the tech industry to incorporate age appropriate safeguards into their apps and platforms to help prevent abuse happening.’

Kent County Council’s Education Safeguarding Team are delighted to have been involved in the creation and shaping of the framework as part of the UKCCIS Education Working Group. We encourage all Kent schools, settings and professionals to access the framework and complete the consultation survey available to help provide valuable feedback from practitioners to ensure it is fit for purpose, and enables us to prepare children for life in a constantly connected age.

Other Announcements

Alongside the framework, the Prime Minister has announced plans to review laws and make sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online. The latest announcements follow the publication of the Government’s Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper last year which outlined plans for a social media code of practice. The aim is to prevent abusive behaviour online, introduce more effective reporting mechanisms to tackle bullying or harmful content, and give better guidance for users to identify and report illegal content. The Government will be outlining further steps on the strategy, including more detail on the code of practice and transparency reports, in the spring.

Further information can be found here: 


Posted in 2018, Colleges, Colleges and sixth forms, Curriculum, DCMS, e-Safety, Early Years, Education Leaders and Managers, Framework, Independent Schools, Internet Safety Strategy, Online Safety, Policy, Primary, Resources, Safeguarding, Safer Internet Day, Schools, Secondary, Strategy, UKCCIS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is the day – Happy Safer Internet Day 2018 #SID2018

Today, Tuesday 6 February is Safer Internet Day; a day to celebrate and create a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, each February to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people. Celebrated on the second day of the second week of the second month, each year on Safer Internet Day millions of people unite to inspire positive change and raise awareness of online safety issues and participate in events and activities right across the globe.

This year’s theme of ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: A Better Internet Starts With You’ encourages everyone to join the global movement, to participate and to make the most of the internet’s potential to bring people together.

With a global, community-led approach, Safer Internet Day 2018 encourages everyone to join and play their part. There are many ways to do this:

  • Children and young people can help to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations (and those of others), and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online.
  • Parents and carers play a crucial role in empowering and supporting children to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively, whether it is by ensuring an open dialogue with their children, educating them to use technology safely and positively, or by acting as digital role models.
  • Teachers, educators and social workers can help to create a better internet by equipping their pupils and students with digital literacy skills and by developing their critical thinking skills, which will allow them to better navigate the online world. They can empower them to create their own content, make positive choices online and can set a personal example of online behaviour for their pupils and students.
  • Industry can help to create a better internet by creating and promoting positive content and safe services online, and by empowering users to respond to any issues by providing clear safety advice, a range of easy-to-use safety tools, and quick access to support if things do go wrong.
  • Decision makers and politicians need to provide the culture in which all of the above can function and thrive – for example, by ensuring that there are opportunities in the curriculum for children to learn about online safety, ensuring that parents and carers have access to appropriate information and sources of support, and that industry are encouraged to self-regulate their content and services. They must also take the lead in governance and legislation, and ultimately ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through effective child protection strategies for the online world.

Everyone has a responsibility to make a positive difference online; we can all promote the positive by being kind and respectful to others and seeking out positive opportunities to create and connect. We can all respond to the negative by reporting any inappropriate or illegal content.

Today we encourage all Kent educational settings, professionals, parents/carers and children and young people to join in and celebrate. After all – a better internet starts with us!

Posted in 2018, Safer Internet Day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New resources from The Diana Awards to support young people with identity and online pressures #onlinesafety

New figures released by a YouGov poll, commissioned by the youth charity The Diana Award, reveal how online pressures to conform could be affecting young people’s sense of self.

This new online survey conducted amongst 589 GB children aged 13-17 years, suggests the amount of pressure teens face online at a critical time when they are exploring and developing their identity. Despite being able to talk to more people than ever before, online judgement and pressure to fit in with a vast online audience limits young people’s ability to be themselves online.

  • 63% of young people say people behave differently online to the way they do offline;
  • Half (49%) of young people feel pressured to reply to people’s messages quickly;
  • A quarter of young people (25%) feel they have to ‘like’ a post or picture that they don’t actually like.

The Diana Award is highlighting the importance of teachers and parents helping young people to develop resilience and be themselves online. In partnership with ASKfm and Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, The Diana Award is launching an educators pack and video to help young people explore their online. The resources are available on the ASKfm safety centre – Dr Linda Papadopoulos has also created a blog answering young people’s questions about the online world.

The ‘Staying anonymous, staying safe online’ educational resources are available online for teachers to download and use.


Posted in 2018, Anonymous, Ask.FM, Children and Young People, e-Safety, Online Safety, Resources, Schools, Secondary, Social Media, Social Networking, The Diana Award, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online Safety Alert – ‘Roblox’

The Education Safeguarding Team have received a number of enquiries following information circulating on social media with regards a ‘warning’ to parents relating to the use of the app ‘Roblox’. Whilst information has been shared with good intentions to raise awareness of online risks with parents, it is believed to contain inaccurate information.

As highlighted within our “Online Safety Alerts  – Think before you scare” blog post, whilst schools and settings wishing to warn their community of online risks is well intended, this approach often has the opposite effect and can generate unnecessary fear, or increase children’s curiosity about sites and apps etc. that they had not previously heard about.

If there has not been a specific issue

If there has not been an incident that directly involves member of the school community, headteachers should be clear on what they hope to achieve by sharing specific information or naming apps with parents. We recommend headteachers access the following content when making these decisions, and/or consult with the Education Safeguarding Team:

In many cases, the best approach is for schools to focus on positive behaviours and online parenting rather than on specific websites themselves. Parents should be encouraged to actively engage with their children online and utilise privacy and security settings and parental controls. Children should be empowered to manage their online environment by learning how to block, report and tell an adult when things happen online.

We have a number of useful template letters which schools may find helpful to use and adapt to raise awareness regarding online safety:

If there has been a specific issue

If schools are made aware of a specific concern relating to the use of Roblox by pupils in their school, we recommend discussing the concerns directly with children and parents involved. If schools have safeguarding concerns relating to the children and families involved and/or the content or contact occurring within the site, they should follow their child protection procedures. Schools should also support children and parents to report concerns appropriately to the site and other services if required.  The Education Safeguarding Team  can provide support to Kent schools and settings when dealing with online safeguarding concerns.

If parents require safety information about Roblox specifically, the following links may be helpful:

If Kent schools and settings wish to discuss this concern further, or have any queries with regards to informing parents of other online safety concerns, please contact the Education Safeguarding Team.

Posted in 2018, Alert, Apps, Letter, Online Safety, Schools | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment