Almost half of young people don’t consider consequences before posting online

Statistics from UKSIC for Safer Internet Day emphasise the importance of online safety education for young people

New research for the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) reveals the positives and challenges of sharing and viewing content that is so integral to young people.

The research reveals that 65% of young people would feel disconnected from the world if they couldn’t be online, while 70% say being online helps them understand what’s happening in the world, and 60% only know about certain issues because of the internet.

Despite this positivity, almost half (48%) of young people asked admitted that their peers don’t always think before they post, whilst 36% are sharing screenshots of other people’s photos, comments, or messages at least weekly. Furthermore, 27% are likely to read a friend’s messages without their permission.

Will Gardner OBE, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said: “We must move beyond advising young people only on what they should do online, and work with them to understand how to do this in practice.”

We must move beyond advising young people only on what they should do online, and work with them to understand how to do this in practice.
– Will Gardner, UKSIC

Encouragingly, the internet has helped 46% of young people through a difficult time, and 42% have been inspired to take positive action by sharing support for a campaign, social movement or petition.

Education secretary Damian Hinds commented on the importance of education in online safety. He said: “We are making relationships education compulsory in all primary schools and relationships and sex education compulsory in all secondary schools, to sit alongside the existing computing curriculum. Teachers will address online safety and appropriate behaviour in a way that is relevant to pupils’ lives.”

Adele Abbis, online safety expert at Smoothwall also touched on the important role of schools. She said: “Training teachers on the fundamentals of online safety just isn’t enough. Schools also need a smart, proactive approach to content filtering and monitoring to ensure they are facilitating the safest online learning environment possible.”

For more information on Safer Internet Day, and to read the full report, visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/our-internet