Safer Internet Day: Schoolchildren increasingly at risk from social media

New research from Corsham Institute (Ci) has revealed that schoolchildren are increasingly signing up to social media sites like Instagram and Facebook and facing issues such as bullying online

by News Reporter on 6 February 2018 09:40

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Schoolchildren are increasingly at risk from online threats, according to new research from Corsham Institute (Ci). The findings were revealed in the Ci Communities programme Safer Internet Survey, conducted in January 2018, included polling with 1,243 Primary School and 840 Secondary School students.

Overall 10 per cent of 11-18-year-olds have ‘felt pressured’ to share a picture of themselves online. Broken down by gender, 13 per cent of girls said they had, compared to 6 per cent of boys.

The study revealed that 46 per cent of 11-18-year-olds reported that Instagram was the first social media account they signed up to, while 14 per cent said it was Snapchat and 21 per cent Facebook.

The research also found that a quarter of secondary school children are increasingly using the internet to meet people they have never met before. 32 per cent of young people at Secondary School said that in the last year they had contact with someone online who they hadn’t met face-to-face before.

Commenting on the research, Rachel Neaman, CEO of Corsham Institute, said, “The internet is playing an increasingly influential role in the lives of schoolchildren and the reality is, this comes with significant pressures.

Much more needs to be done to safeguard the wellbeing of the next generation and ensure they enjoy digital technology safely - and that requires collaboration between tech companies, policymakers, schools and parents.

Social media sites also need to act swiftly to prevent cyberbullying, and schools need to demonstrate far greater awareness of the risks of sharing photos and information online, especially with strangers.

Properly managed, the internet will continue to be a source of exciting educational and social experiences for young people. Without this protection, it could put the health and wellbeing of the next generation at risk.” 

TechUK chief Julian David said, “Although this is of course welcome, there is no “one size fits all” solution to the issue of online safety and progress will only be made if government works with industry to make the internet a safe and productive place in our future digital economy. TechUK is very pleased to be an active supporter of this day, along with the many other organisations that are creating practical solutions to how we can make the internet a safer place for young people.”

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