On October 12th every school in the UK has an opportunity to hear the latest research on what works to keep children safer online. The country’s leading researchers and experts in responding to the challenges of the digital age will be coming together to share and discuss the current and emerging digital risk and harm landscape. They will be looking at familiar challenges and exploring the best ways to respond.
The day is being organised by the CEOP command of the National Crime Agency and Parent Zone to help schools get to grips with the problems facing today’s young people in their blended online, offline world. Some of the problems they will be exploring are familiar. Cyberbullying, sexting, self harm and the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and self esteem are just some of the issues that will be discussed.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone said, “we have been tackling these issues for several years now but we are only just starting to understand what actually works. As co-chair of the UK Council on Child Internet Safety’s Digital Resilience group I am very aware that in order to meet the needs of today’s young people we need to find ways to get ahead of the problems. We have to stop playing catch up and start sharing what we know and working together to build our responses. The Digital Families 2017 conference is a chance to do that”.
All of the speakers at the conference are leading experts in their field. They include Sonia Livingstone OBE, Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics. Her work examines the opportunities and risks afforded by digital and online technologies, including for children and young people at home and school, with a recent focus on children’s rights in the digital age.
She will be joined by two professors from the Oxford Internet Institute, the research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, dedicated to the social science of the Internet. Dr Victoria Nash, Deputy Director and Senior Policy Fellow at the OII will be talking about her recent research including her review of the risks and harms faced by children online and Professor Andy Przybylski who will be sharing the factors that lead to successful and unsuccessful self-regulation of gaming contexts and social media use.
In addition to leading researchers, attendees will hear from practitioners like Dr Elly Hanson an independent Clinical Psychologist whose work focuses on preventing child abuse and tackling its impact. She has recently collaborated on two pieces of research – one looking at the role of technology in young people’s romantic relationships and the other exploring the impact of sexual abuse.
The day will conclude with organisations like the PSHE association, The Mix, Ditch the label, CEOP and Parent Zone sharing the most effective responses and education strategies.
At the end of the day, participants will leave with a better understanding of the emerging risks and the information needed to implement evidence based responses in their schools. They will have looked behind the headlines and the confusing picture of statistics and scare stories and heard a balanced narrative on the solutions.
The problems faced by this digital generation and the professionals attempting to guide them are complex and can seem intransigent. Quick fixes and emergency measures have been necessary, as the pace of change has rushed ahead of our understanding of the problems. This event is an opportunity to take stock and find the best ways to face the challenges head on.
For more information about Digital Families 2017 and to book your place visit www.parentzone.org.uk
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