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

Click here for more related ISD Publications

ISD’s Education team

Jennie King
Read Bio
Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

×
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
Read Bio
Lucie Parker

Programme Operations Manager

×
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.
Hugo Besançon
Read Bio
Hugo Besançon

Associate

×
Hugo Besançon
Hugo Besançon

Associate

Hugo Besançon is an Associate at ISD working within the Education team to produce and disseminate pedagogical content to help empower young people against a wide array of online harms (dis/misinformation and hate speech). He participated in the production of ISD’s Young Digital Leaders Curriculum and contributes to ISD’s educational programmes (Extreme Dialogue, Be Internet Citizens, ReNews, Young Digital Leaders). He previously worked at the Council of Europe (where he organised the World Forum for Democracy) and at the French National Digital Council (where he worked on topics such as gender equality in tech, digital citizenship, facial recognition). Hugo is a graduate from Sciences Po Strasbourg where he specialised in European Policy. Hugo also holds a Master’s degree in Digital Law and Open Government from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne where he focused on the right to Privacy in the 21st Century.
Iris Boyer
Read Bio
Iris Boyer

Advisor to ISD France

×
Iris Boyer
Iris Boyer

Advisor to ISD France

Iris Boyer is an Advisor to ISD France. She was previously Deputy Head of the Communications, Education and Networks team at ISD, overseeing a number of programmes supporting and amplifying civil society’s efforts against extremism through scaled partnerships with tech companies and grassroots organisations. Previously, Iris worked at YouTube on the development and coordination of the global campaign Creators for Change, after having managed counter speech and social good programmes at Facebook for their EMEA policy team. Prior to that, she spent some time working for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a junior policy analyst in Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as for the French Ministry of Finance, as an economic attaché covering the South Caucasus region. She is the co-author of ISD reports Information Manipulations Around COVID-19: France Under Attack, Building Digital Citizenship in France: Lessons from the Sens Critique project, Mapping hate in France: A panoramic view of online discourse, Building Digital Citizenship in France: Lessons from the Sens Critique project, and the Young Digital Leaders Impact Report. Iris holds a French 5-year diploma in social sciences and humanities from Sciences Po, as well as an international Master in Public Affairs from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and the London Metropolitan University.