Two-thirds of teens want more online safety support

New survey published as Facebook teams up with Childnet International and The Diana Award to offer a digital safety ambassadors for every secondary school

Eleanor Busby

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More than two-thirds of teenagers would like schools to provide more support on online safety issues such as cyber-bullying, new research suggests.

And more than three-fifths (63 per cent) want their school to offer more peer-led education programmes on how to use social media safely, a survey from youth research agency has revealed.

The ResearchBods poll, of 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds, found that teenagers are much more likely to confide in a peer (72 per cent) than a teacher (34 per cent) when they experience online bullying.

And today Facebook has teamed up with youth charities Childnet International and The Diana Award to try and offer digital safety ambassadors - young people trained to provide peer-to-peer support and lead online safety initiatives in the classroom - to every UK secondary school.

It is hoped that tens of thousands of pupils in secondary schools across the UK will be trained as "digital leaders or "anti-bullying ambassadors for online and offline bullying.

Both today and tomorrow pupils will be participating in "House of Us", a digital safety event in London where teenagers will be able to immerse themselves in some online safety challenges.

The two-day event includes an audio maze that is said to evoke feelings of being bullied and an interactive light room that "responds to positive sentiment".

Antigone Davis, head of global safety policy at Facebook, said: “Our immersive House of Us experience to launch the new partnership has been created with young people for young people.

“It aims to bring UK school children together to explore online safety issues in the real world in a safe, supportive environment.

“We look forward to getting feedback and input from young participants that can add even more peer-led ideas to the programmes in the months to come.”

Karen Bradley, culture secretary, 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."

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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