Staying Safe and Secure Online

The digital landscape for children and teenagers today

The online and offline lives of today’s teenagers are interlinked to the point of complete fusion: their TikTok profile reflects who they are, their gaming habits are a fundamental hobby and YouTube connects them to content they love.

Safeguarding your child online, while allowing them to express their identity on the internet, is a modern parenting challenge. Online bullying, stranger danger, inappropriate content and identity theft are all real worries.

But knowledge and awareness remain lacking. Ofcom’s 2022 Media Use and Attitudes Report notes that ‘just 4 in 10 parents of 3 – 17s knew the minimum age requirement for using most social media’. Contrast this with the fact that ‘a majority of children under 13 had their own profile on at least one social media app or site’ and we see increasing awareness for parents is important too.

GDST Girls give their take on online safety:

The subject of online security hits home for GDST Girls. To spread awareness and in partnership with Digital Awareness UK – a campaigning organisation helping young people survive and thrive online – girls across the GDST’s family of 25 schools competed to create animated films highlighting particular aspects of digital safety. Edited in just a few hours, the results are spectacular.

The winners, Annie, Hope, Fliss and Caitlin from Norwich High School, were selected by the judges at Digital Awareness UK because their video ‘clearly demonstrated the issue of sexting and how it can play out through the messaging graphics, the use of animation creatively showed the impact sexting can have on your mental health, there was a clear call to action in terms of what can be done to manage the issue and the emotive soundtrack was really powerful.’

Second and third place prizes were awarded to Evie, Rosie, Elicia and Harriet from Wimbledon High School and Inez, Anna and Bella from Putney High School.

The Wimbledon team’s video also highlighted the issues around sharing nudes online.

And the Putney girls’ animation demonstrated the addictive potential of technology.

Emma Robertson, CEO of Digital Awareness UK said, “We were blown away by the sheer volume of high-quality content these students were able to create in such a short space of time.”

Helpful digital safety resources for parents and children:

There are many helpful resources online around internet safety, including the Digital Footprint video we collaborated with Digital Awareness UK on. The NSPCC’s guide to talking to your child is another helpful starting point. also provides comprehensive guides for teachers, parents and carers, 4 to 11 year olds and 11 to 18 year olds, and The UK government also provide a practical take on children’s social media use.