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.

See what others have said about Be Internet Citizens below:

Priti Patel visits workshop on internet citizenship at local school

‘Alex Norris MP discusses Be Internet Citizens in the House of Commons’

‘Gavin Williamson visits Wombourne High School’

For more information and resources see the Be Internet Citizens website.

Be Internet Citizens resources

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ISD’s Education team

Jennie King
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Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

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Jennie King
Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

Jennie King is a Senior Policy Manager at ISD. She supports programme design, policy outreach and strategy across the organisation. Jennie previously served as MENA Regional Director Arts, Assistant Country Director Egypt and Co-Director Hungary for the British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations. She also served as an Attaché for the Guatemalan Diplomatic Mission. She is the co-author of the ISD report Hoodwinked: Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Facebook. Jennie read Arabic and Spanish at Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving a Foundation Scholarship and the Marie Shamma’a Frost Prize for Oriental Studies.
Lucie Parker
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Lucie Parker

Programme Operations Manager

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Lucie Parker
Lucie Parker

Programme Operations Manager

Lucie Parker is a Programme Operations Manager at ISD, responsible for the project and grant management, operational delivery and fundraising activities for ISD’s portfolio of programmes across Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She also works on developing policies and practices that implement ISD’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and organisational wellbeing. Lucie has spent her career managing programmes across a range of social justice issues in the UK and international charity and non-profit sectors, with previous roles including Gender Analyst at International Crisis Group and Senior Policy and Research Officer at the Fawcett Society. She is a Founding Trustee of Bread & Roses, a charity that provides holistic support to refugee and asylum seeking women as they rebuild their lives in the UK. She is the co-author of the Young Digital Leaders Impact Report and Digital Resilience: Stronger Citizens Online. Lucie holds an MA with distinction in War Studies from King’s College London and a BA in Politics from the University of York.
Simone Orgel
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Simone Orgel

Educator at the Business Council for Democracy, ISD Germany

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Simone Orgel
Simone Orgel

Educator at the Business Council for Democracy, ISD Germany

Simone is a Berlin based Digital Strategist and artist focusing on participation processes and community building in the digital space and political landscape. She gave classes at the European-University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and does research at the Universität der Künste. Simone studied Communication in Social and Economic Contexts at the Berlin University of the Arts, as well as the University of Toronto, and has worked as a communications expert and leader for several public and private institutions such as GIZ, Deutsche Bundesbank, Wikimedia and re:publica. At ISD, she is working as an educator for the Business Council for Democracy (BC4D).
Sina Laubenstein
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Sina Laubenstein

Educator at the Business Council for Democracy, ISD Germany

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Sina Laubenstein
Sina Laubenstein

Educator at the Business Council for Democracy, ISD Germany

Sina Laubenstein is an Educator at the Business Council for Democracy (#BC4D) at ISD Germany. She is involved with developing and implementing a training program for adult audiences, empowering them against a wide array of online harms (hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy myths). She previously worked for the Berlin-based association Neue deutsche Medienmacher*innen e.V., being the project lead of the No Hate Speech Movement in Germany. She has further worked with the Council of Europe and consulted various Federal ministries and foundations on topics such as digital citizenship, hate speech and radicalisation online. Sina holds an MA in Global Studies and Societal Change from Malmö University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Mannheim. She has co-authored the ISD report Hate Speech and Radicalisation Online: The OCCI Research Report.