SWGfL and Internet Matters Launch Inclusive Digital Safety Hub

We are so happy to have launched the new Inclusive Digital Safety Hub with Internet Matters! This brand new resource will equip and empower professionals, parents and carers who support vulnerable children to introduce and develop more understanding about life online.

Visit the Hub

Not only is the hub the first of its kind but it will include a bespoke version of our ‘So You Got Naked Online…’ resource to support SEND children and a unique online forum for professionals to engage in discussion. This forum will enable them to share their current situation and obtain feedback and comments from their peers so they too can develop their learning. A survey also allows you to share your feedback on the resources available.

Access the Forum

The hub will also include targeted resources and guidance that have been specifically designed for parents, carers or professionals who are looking for online safety advice to support a child with SEND, who are care-experienced or who identifies as LGBTQ+.

The hub was launched by the Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins, MP and will be an essential tool for the future in keeping online safety a number one priority.

Why is it important?

The impact of lockdown has shown a noticeable increase in demand for resources that support parents and professionals working with children who have vulnerabilities. Our POSH helpline who works to support these individuals have also seen a higher demand for such help.

Of the calls received, a significant proportion relate to sexting incidents from those working with SEND children. Reports such as these is why we created a bespoke version of ‘So you got Naked Online’. The aim is to provide accessible information to help support young people with particular vulnerabilities in the event that they have shared intimate images and are unsure of what to do.

With the risk of schools going into local lockdowns, there has never been a more important time to provide professionals surrounding vulnerable young people with evidenced based, usable advice and insight that can support them for the future.

A report by Internet Matters revealed it is possible to predict online risks that different groups of vulnerable children may face online. This includes pressure to send intimate images, greater experience of cyberbullying and cyber scams, as well as repeated exposure to content promoting self-harm, anorexia and suicide.

More than two million children are considered to be the most vulnerable in England - including those with physical or mental health needs. These children face becoming ‘lost in digital space’ if the right support is not given, according to Internet Matters’ Vulnerable Children in a Digital World’ 

David Wright, Director of UK Safer Internet Centre, said:

The internet has transformed how young people learn, socialise and communicate – but sadly it also brings new dangers, such as online grooming, cyberbullying and peer pressure. These risks are even more prevalent for vulnerable children

“We know offline vulnerabilities allow us to predict the online risks children face.  Prediction allows for intervention and prevention, but only if responsible adults have the tools to do this.

“This is why we’ve partnered with Internet Matters. We wanted to create the first-ever online hub to provide adults with the digital education skills to intervene, preventing risk from becoming harmful to vulnerable children.

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said:

We know that the single most important factor in keeping children and young people safe online is for them to have conversations with the trusted adults around them. 

“This is even more important for young people most at risk of harm, so equipping the rainbow of adults around vulnerable young people with the evidence, resources and tools they need to have meaningful conversations, is a vital part of  enabling all young people to enjoy the benefits of connected technology.

“Having those conversations early enough can help lower the risks of serious online harms later on. This way, we can help ensure that every child can benefit from connected technology safely.

I’m delighted that in partnership with SWGfL we’ve been able to offer this hub to parents and professionals”

You can visit the hub here:

https://www.internetmatters.org/inclusive-digital-safety/

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