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Safer Internet Centre

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SID 2011 goes with a bang!

Just a month after taking over as the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC), the new centre comprised of Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) organised two successful events for Safer Internet Day placing children, young people, teachers and parents at the heart of events.

The young people's Safer Internet Day Symposium, co-ordinated by Childnet for the SIC, brought together forty 15 – 17 year olds from across the UK including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales at Microsoft's London Head Quarters for two days to discuss their experience of the internet, engaging them in discussion on what they do online, what they perceive to be the risks to their age group and what advice they would give to their peers and what form that should take. Some of the young people also took the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions in national media, ensuring that the voice of young people was heard loudly on Safer Internet Day.

Joined by social media, internet and gaming experts, the youth delegates debated and discussed this important topic in groups, pitching their final ideas to a panel of judges, including Professor Tanya Byron. All the delegates were praised for their realistic approaches and the coherency with which they communicated their key messages. Key themes that the young people chose to address included the issue of privacy settings and the right to remain untagged in photos, with all the groups factoring in their peers experience.

After much deliberation from the judges, "Think. Who's Watching?" was named as the winning pitch. Group members Lewis Philips, Robert Winfield, Clayton Jones and Eleanor Pomeroy presented their vision for a multimedia campaign highlighting the importance of privacy and online reputation management. Their pitch included storyboards they had created depicting three potential adverts all following an 'ominous' and voyeuristic style. Their campaign was further supported by a website, downloadable applications, a Facebook presence as well as a poster campaign.

The group were praised for their careful consideration of the finer details of their pitch explaining how they would use Search Engine Optimisation techniques and the judges were impressed that they had even checked to see if their selected URL address was available. They were praised for their eye catching logo as well as their incorporation of all aspects of the multimedia advertising package.

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International said:

"We are really pleased with how the young people's Safer Internet Day symposium unfolded. This was a great opportunity for all of us to work together to share our ideas on how to make the internet a safe place. I feel very strongly that everyone took advantage of this great opportunity, and that everyone who took part from the young people to the internet experts they were paired with, will have taken a lot away from the experience. "

David R Townsend, Teaching and Learning Leader (Law) and ICT Innovation Champion, Greensward academy (one of the participating schools) said:

"We had a tremendous two days at the symposium.  We gained so much from the experience that it will have an effect on the girls for the rest of their lives.  As well as the learning curve regarding internet safety and working with experts from Microsoft, Facebook, universities and so on, their own personal development in such a short space of time was incredible."

Julie Inman Grant, Global Directory of Privacy at Microsoft and one of the competition judges said:

"The Safer Internet Day young people's symposium was an incredibly successful event, and I was delighted to be part of it. I was blown away by the young people and their fantastically innovative ideas and look forward to seeing how these are used by the Safer Internet Centre in their work moving forward."

South West Grid for Learning broadcast a marathon radio show; Safer Internet Day Live. This was an ambitious plan to broadcast 12 hours of high quality interactive advice, debate, fact and opinion across the internet. The programme gathered together commentary, advice and conversation from key figures in the international arena of online safety including Professor Tanya Byron, Professor Sonia Livingstone and Lord Richard Allan, along with government ministers Tim Loughton and James Brokenshire.

David Wright said:

"Safer Internet Day Live has been a huge success with an astonishing array of contributors from across the world. The amazing feedback we received on the day (and since) from across the world has confirmed the programmes success and forms a blueprint for future engagement."

The day was a significant declaration from the new Safer Internet Centre as to their intention to keep children, young people, parents and teachers at the heart of their work and signals and exciting 18 months ahead.

Many other partners contributed to the success of Safer Internet Day in the UK including with a variety of activities, as well as the large number of the activities registered by organisations and schools supporting SID on the Safer Internet Centre's new website: