News Release: 16, October 2017

Facebook’s landmark partnership with Childnet International and The Diana Award takes its commitment to online safety into classrooms UK-wide, as new research reveals peer-to-peer support is key to tackling online bullying and promoting positive online experiences.

  • Facebook to offer digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school through its landmark partnership with Childnet International and The Diana Award
  • The commitment could see tens of thousands of pupils in 4,500 schools across the UK trained as Digital Leaders or Anti-bullying Ambassadors over the next two years
  • New research reveals 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 [1]
  • School children from across the UK invited to participate in ‘House of Us’: a unique physical experience in London that offers participants the chance to immerse themselves in some of the online safety challenges young people can face – and explore the positive difference they can make when they tackle these issues together.

Today Facebook announces a landmark partnership with youth charities, Childnet International and The Diana Award, that scales their existing 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.

Facebook’s commitment could see tens of thousands of pupils in 4,500 secondary schools across the UK trained as Digital Leaders (Childnet International) or Anti-Bullying Ambassadors for online and offline bullying (The Diana Award) and provided with access to face-to-face training, dedicated online resources and forums.

With estimates that between 6% and 25% of children have experienced online bullying, Facebook’s commitment will significantly scale the charities’ existing work in schools to improve child safety and well-being through peer-to-peer support and learning. [2]

An immersive digital safety event, created with young people for young people

To bring the value of the schools programmes to life, Facebook, Childnet International and The Diana Award have collaborated with young people to create ‘House of Us’, a unique physical experience in London.

It offers participants the chance to immerse themselves in some of the online safety challenges young people can face – and explore the positive difference they can make when they tackle these issues together. Its exhibits include an audio maze that evokes feelings of being bullied, an interactive light room that responds to positive sentiment and a challenge using bullying and banter scenarios to highlight the fine line between these behaviours.

School children from across the UK will be participating in ‘House of Us’ today and tomorrow. Their input and feedback will be used to shape future ideas for how the schools programmes can address the online challenges children face.

New research underpins the value of peer-to-peer support

New research from specialist youth research agency, ResearchBods [1], reveals the critical role that peer-to-peer support and learning plays in helping young people to tackle online safety issues, like cyber-bullying:

  • 13-17 year-olds are more likely to confide in a peer (72%) than a parent (60%) or teacher (34%) should they experience online bullying
  • In fact, more than half (55%) would deal with the problem alone rather than turn to an adult figure
  • Top reasons young people turn to peers first include:
    • They are more likely to have dealt with similar experiences (40%)
    • They don’t want to worry their parents or guardians (38%)
  • 60% of 13-17 year-olds say they have supported a friend who was being bullied, online or offline

While two thirds (64%) of young people say their school has provided them with learning or support about online safety issues in the last year, 67% would like their school to do more. 63% would like their school to involve more young people in educating other pupils about using social media safely and positively.

Facebook’s partnership with Childnet International and The Diana Awards will build on its core strengths in supporting creativity and community to amplify the impact of the existing peer-led programmes, both inside and outside of the classroom.

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.

She continued: “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.”

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.”

Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award, the UK’s Leading Anti-Bullying Campaign, said:
“Facebook’s support will enable us to upscale our work empowering 20,000 more young people to stand up to all forms of bullying and protect their peers over the next two years. Our tried and tested peer-led approach has transformed the lives of thousands of young people in schools across the UK & Ireland who spend 11,000 hours of their hours in education. We know that what happens offline often extends to young people’s online world, this is why we are proud to partner with Facebook, creating a community of young people who will help shape the behaviour and attitude of their peers; as well as take responsibility for the well-being of their peers. We know that with our support, these young Anti-Bullying Ambassadors have the power to close the empathy gap and encourage positive behaviour choices online and offline.”

James Okulaja, 14, an Anti-Bullying Ambassador for The Diana Award, said:
“My role is to go round schools and educate people on what it means to be an ‘Upstander’, which essentially is standing up to bullying and not watching it happen. Anti-bullying Ambassadors educate others about how to stay safe and what to do if they see bullying online – about the reporting buttons, how to block and filter comments, and also where to go if you need help.”

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.”

Poppy Muffett, 15, a Childnet Digital Leader from Wath Comprehensive School in Rotherham, said:
“I have really enjoyed being a Digital Leader. It has given me confidence in what I can achieve for both the school and myself. The most enjoyable part of the programme is planning events or creating posters, as you know that you’re making a difference within the school and wider community. Over the two years that I have had this role, I have noticed positive changes around the school. It feels like we have made the school a better place, and I know we will continue to do so in the future.”

Schools who don’t yet have a Digital Leader or Anti-Bullying Ambassador can register their interest in the programmes at www.childnet.com/digital-leaders or www.antibullyingpro.com.

Notes to editors:
[1] ResearchBods conducted online research among 1000 13-17 year olds in October 2017
[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/650933/Literature_Review_Final_October_2017.pdf Page 33

Childnet International
Childnet International is a UK charity that empowers children, families and schools in the digital age, and its vision is to make the internet a great and safe place for children. Launching in 1995, it speaks to thousands of children, parents and teachers every year; creates innovative educational resources; and delivers projects to empower young people to have their say and take the lead in helping to create a better internet. It achieves a wider impact through influencing best practice and policy, both in the UK and internationally. As one of three charities in the UK Safer Internet Centre, Childnet coordinates Safer Internet Day, which reaches millions of UK children every year.

Find out more at www.childnet.com

Childnet Digital Leaders Programme
Delivered by Childnet as part of its work in the UK Safer Internet Centre, this pupil-powered online safety programme empowers young people to be Digital Leaders so they can educate their peers, parents and teachers about staying safe online. With interactive training and an exciting online community, the programme helps schools put young people at the heart of their whole-school approach and ensures internet safety learning is fun and effective.

Find out more at www.childnet.com/digital-leaders

Childnet International & Facebook
Facebook has supported the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme since 2015, but has been working with Childnet International since 2009. In 2014, Facebook and Childnet partnered on a programme to support responsible sharing online for teens called Think Before You Share and has collaborates with Childnet for the annual Safer Internet Day.

The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme
The Diana Award runs the leading Anti-Bullying Campaign in the UK and Ireland giving young people the skills, confidence and training to tackle all forms of bullying as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in their schools, communities and online.

The Diana Award & Facebook
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. Facebook also provides safety training for each new Youth Board that is elected every year. Last year Facebook launched a resource ‘Anti-Bullying Activism on Facebook’ – a guide for schools who would like to set up their own anti-bullying initiatives on Facebook.

To find out more about The Diana Award’s partnership with Facebook go to: http://facebook.antibullyingpro.com/

Facebook and online safety:

Social reporting tools
In 2011 Facebook partnered with researchers from Yale and Berkley who are experts in the field of communicating emotion in order to improve reporting and resolution flows and to build more effective tools for people using Facebook. These conflict resolution tools are designed to help prevent bullying and to empower teens to take action against offensive or objectionable posts. Through the development of these tools, Facebook facilitates and encourages direct and immediate feedback.

Bullying Prevention Hub

  • The Bullying Prevention Hub, launched in 2013 in partnership with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, is a resource for young people, parents and educators to seek support and help for issues relating to bullying and other conflicts through specific actions:
    • Addressing a need for more directed advice and guidance with step-by-step plans, including conversation starters for people being bullied, parents who have had a child be bullied or accused of bullying as well as for teachers who have had students involved in a bullying situation
    • Creating consistency in educational messaging around bullying
    • Allowing people to be informed by the latest research and in-field practices of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), as they relate to bullying prevention
  • The hub lives in the Facebook Safety Center and includes a downloadable PDF resource guide for teens, parents and educators. These guides contain more detailed, in-depth information developed by the team at Yale, and have been localized with the help of our in-country partners to each country we have launched.

Facebook supports the #‎WeProtect Children Online initiative to fight against online child exploitation. WePROTECT is a global multi-stakeholder collaboration commissioned by former UK Prime Minister Cameron to thwart the sexual exploitation of children. Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety sits on WePROTECT’s International Advisory Board.

Safety Centre
To find out more information about staying safe on Facebook, please visit the Safety Center to find more information on Facebook’s safety policies, tools and resources as well as access the Bullying Prevention Hub, Parent’s Portal, and Online Wellbeing Portal. https://www.facebook.com/safety


Our mission is to inspire and recognise social action in young people.

© 2016 The Diana Award. The Diana Award is a registered charity (1117288 / SC0141915) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales number 5739137.


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