The social media giant partners with UK anti-bullying charities
The new partnership between Facebook and youth charities Childnet International and The Diana Award will work to tackle issues of online safety and bullying. Together they will scale up the charities existing school programmes to offer every UK secondary school dedicated digital safety ambassadors: young people trained to provide peer-to-peer support and lead online safety initiatives in the classroom.
It’s estimated that between 6% and 25% of children have experienced online bullying and new research reveals peer-to-peer support is key to tackling the problem and promoting positive online experiences. Young people turn to one another first for support with issues such as cyber-bullying; with two thirds (63%) calling for more peer-led education programmes in schools.
The alliance aims to train tens of thousands of pupils in 4,500 schools across the UK as Digital Leaders or Anti-bullying Ambassadors over the next two years.
Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety Policy at Facebook said: “This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities.
Over the last decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative resources on Facebook that enable young people to look after themselves and their peers, from our updated Safety Centre, to our online reporting tools. By offering trained digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school we are now taking this commitment offline too.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “It’s fantastic that Facebook have committed to providing digital ambassadors, these students in schools will help give their peers the tools they need to stay safe and tackle issues such as cyberbullying.
“The internet has many amazing opportunities for our young people but what is unacceptable offline needs to be unacceptable on a computer screen. Our Internet Safety Strategy aims to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and working together with companies like Facebook is how we can all contribute to a positive online environment.”
Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said: “We’re excited about the beginning of this new partnership with Facebook and The Diana Award to reach even more schools across the UK. We launched the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme two years ago as part of our work in the UK Safer Internet Centre, with support from Facebook and the European Commission.
Since then we have trained thousands of peer educators in schools across the UK using our innovative digital platform and we are constantly inspired by the amazing activities they deliver to make a really positive difference in their school communities. This new partnership will enable us to grow the reach and impact of the programme – offering exciting new opportunities for schools involved in the programme and empowering many more young people to become Digital Leaders and inspire their peers to use technology safely and positively.”
Facebook has supported the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme since 2015, but has been working with Childnet International since 2009. Facebook has supported The Diana Award since 2010. As part of the partnership, Facebook supports The Diana Award in training their ‘Anti-Bullying Ambassadors’ in schools across the UK, and also supports the charity in the production of national events during UK Anti-Bullying Week where the Facebook safety team trains over 500 young people and teachers on safety on Facebook.