Happy Safer Internet Day! Today is the day that countries around the world promote the positive use of the internet and technology for children and young people.

In the UK, the day is coordinated by three leading charities: Childnet International, SWGfL and IWF. Together they make up the UK Safer Internet Centre.

Digital empathy

Each year, Safer Internet Day has a different theme. This year’s slogan is: ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you’.

It’s about digital empathy; being respectful online and treating others how we would want to be treated ourselves.

The research

As part of Safer Internet Day, the UK Safer Internet Centre commissioned a study of 2,000 8– 17-year-olds on their feelings and attitudes towards social media and their online interactions.

The research found that:

  • Two in five 8-17-year-olds had felt worried or anxious on the internet in the last week. One in ten (11%) said they often felt worried or anxious online.

  • 68% of young people said that chatting to their friends online cheers them up.

  • Almost half (49%) of young people said that in the last year someone had been mean to them online, with 1 in 12 experiencing this all or most of the time.

Work to be done

“It’s clear that technology is having an impact on how young people develop relationships”, said Will Gardner, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre.

Gardner said that the full findings were generally encouraging, but that there were obviously some negative outcomes too. In particular, where young people face pressures in their online relationships.

Respect and digital identities

We’re supporting Safer Internet Day because we believe that internet should be something everyone can access and enjoy without feeling vulnerable.

On Safer Internet Day, we’re encouraging young people to check who they’re talking to online. Young people are vulnerable to contact from strangers online and this can result in upsetting, but often much more serious consequences.

By downloading the free Yoti app and creating a digital identity, children aged 12 and above can use the Yoti app to check verified identity details of the people they meet online.

Tackling stranger danger

Whether they’re meeting strangers through online gaming, social media platforms, online forums or dating apps, swapping verified details with Yoti is the safest, simplest way to be sure who you’re talking to online.

Because Yoti requires a user to add a government-issued ID and complete a test to prove they’re a real person—among other authentication steps—you can be confident that anyone sharing their details with you through Yoti is who they say they are.

Our safety initiatives

At Yoti, we’re doing a lot of different things to help young people stay safe online and better their digital literacy skills.

We’ve teamed with NSPCC and IWF to create a Childline tool which helps young people to flag and take down indecent images or videos of themselves online.

Next week, our Yoti developers are hosting a Coder Dojo for children young people aged 7–17 to come into the Yoti office in London and learn how to code and use technology for good.

And in the US, we’re funding a coding computer kit programme called ConnectHomeUSA with Kano, which makes coding and building computers a part of the curriculum for low-income families in San Antonio.

Rachael Trotman

Rachael Trotman

PR & Events Manager