BT and Unicef UK deliver 300 internet safety workshops


Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child in everything they do. Together with their partners, Unicef work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity they raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies, and also lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK

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BT and Unicef UK recently celebrated their 300th workshop on internet safety in schools as part of their three year partnership, The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters. The programme is designed to help children and their families and teachers to use the internet safely. So far, 7,378 children, parents and teachers have taken part in the sessions at Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting Schools, which put the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of their policies and practice. As a result, 90% parents say they will talk to their child more about online safety.

The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters aims to empower children to become confident digital citizens, enabling them to safely enjoy the benefits of the internet in a rapidly-evolving online world. The programme also works to equip teachers and parents with the skills needed to help children to use the internet safely. They are shown the value of parental controls and the ease with which they can be set up and used, and are encouraged to discuss online safety openly with children. 83% of pupil participants said that they found the workshops helpful, with 88% saying they would now tell an adult they trusted if something upset them online.

“The internet is an amazing place, especially for children, not only at school but also when continuing their learning at home,” said Pete Oliver, commercial and marketing director at BT Consumer. “But online safety can often be a grey area for parents, teachers and children, and in some instances it can result in parents being unsure how to best help their children to use the internet positively. The workshops are about enabling them to be digitally savvy, so that they can get the most out of the internet, while making smart choices so that potential dangers are managed.”

Since the launch of the BT and Unicef UK partnership in March 2014, 80 schools in disadvantaged areas have also been invited to join Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting School programme as a direct result of BT funding. These schools - selected from areas across the UK including Glasgow, Kent, Liverpool, Merthyr Tydfil and Stockton-On-Tees - are provided with training, support visits and teaching resources to help them embed children’s rights into their ethos and culture.

Unicef UK deputy executive director Catherine Cottrell said: “The workshops have been a fantastic success. This partnership has been set up using what we believe is the best possible approach to online safety – involving parents, teachers and children and we are thrilled that 300 workshops are being delivered in Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools.”

Keeley Hawes, actor and longtime Unicef UK Supporter, said: “As a parent, I know how important these issues are and how wary parents and caregivers feel when it comes to setting guidelines and giving advice to children. I think these workshops are brilliant – they get to the heart of the issues we face. I have certainly learnt a lot from my involvement and regularly put this to use when talking to my own children about their use of online and social media platforms.”

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[Image Credit: © Shaun Smith/BT]

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