Be Internet Citizens
ISD works to build young people’s digital citizenship skills across the UK, enabling them to critically evaluate information and forge safer and more accountable online spaces.
Young people are often early adopters of new and alternative media, and are therefore increasingly exposed to risk, be it targeted harassment and ‘doxxing’ or radicalisation and conspiracy theories. Now is a critical moment to increase their awareness of these harms, but more importantly to help them build a more inclusive and well-informed internet community going forward. We believe this is the time to redouble our efforts and provide educators with the support they so desperately need.
Be Internet Citizens is a programme for teenagers aged 13+, created and delivered in partnership with YouTube and a team of expert facilitators. The programme bolsters young people’s resilience to a range of online harms including hate and disinformation, while empowering them to become well-informed and engaged citizens in the digital era.
Since 2017, the programme has reached an estimated 70,000+ students and 750+ teachers across the UK. It has been formally accredited by the UK’s PSHE Association and celebrated by experts at the Department for Education (DfE), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Ofcom. The programme has also received direct engagement from over 20 cross-party MPs, including current Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, former DCMS Parliamentary Chair Damian Collins, and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
In 2020, ISD launched a brand-new curriculum for schools and youth centres, reflecting the real lived experiences and challenges young people face online. The resources are free to download and include a series of action-oriented sessions, unpacking key topics such as:
- How to identify mis- and disinformation (e.g. conspiracy theories, clickbait, manipulated media);
- Exploring fact versus opinion, including how sensational content can be used to drive user engagement;
- The benefits and pitfalls of a ‘personalised web’, including algorithms and filter bubbles;
- Understanding unconscious bias and how it influences our worldview;
- Analysing ‘us vs them’ narratives, and how online echo chambers may widen social divides;
- Responding effectively to hate speech and forging more inclusive digital communities;
- Creating inspiring digital content to champion causes, promote positive messages and support peers
As our impact reporting shows, students who engage with the Be Internet Citizens curriculum are better able to critically analyse information, build empathy towards others and effectively respond to harmful content.
The programme is delivered via:
- Interactive school workshops to entire year groups of 150-200 students. Our latest evaluation shows that 71% of young people felt they would behave differently online as a result of participating in a workshop;
- Train the Trainer sessions delivered both in-person and remotely to teachers and youth workers, who are then equipped to lead the curriculum independently with their students;
- Larger, community-focused events in major cities across the UK, bringing together policymakers, teachers, students and youth workers to learn about and share their experiences of the programme.
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For more information and resources see the Be Internet Citizens website.
Be Internet Citizens resourcesClick here for more related ISD Publications
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