Young online safety campaigners recognised by the City of Doncaster Council

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School children from Doncaster have found their own way to share vital online safety messaging with their peers, thanks to a new campaign in the city.

Doncaster Safety Net is a year-long campaign supported by Doncaster Children’s Safeguarding Partnership, the NSPCC and South Yorkshire Police aimed at helping children and young people across the city stay safer online.

More than 4,600 online child abuse image crimes have been recorded by South Yorkshire Police in the last five years, so empowering children with the knowledge and confidence to recognise and speak up about abuse is vital.

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Working with Gail Sayles, local campaigns officer from the NSPCC, children from the Stainforth Steering Group have created a leaflet and video sharing essential safeguarding tips for their Year 5 and 6 peers.

Young online safety campaigners recognised by the City of Doncaster Council.Young online safety campaigners recognised by the City of Doncaster Council.
Young online safety campaigners recognised by the City of Doncaster Council.

Gail said: “We wanted to ensure that the voices of children in Doncaster were being heard and give them the power to create a campaign that would really resonate with their peers.

“The enthusiasm and talent they brought to the project was incredible to see, and the campaign logo and resource sheet they created is brilliant. It’s terrific to see their efforts being recognised at an event like this.”

This week, the young people took part in an event at the City of Doncaster Council Chamber to celebrate their work and share information about the campaign along with the NSPCC and Doncaster Children’s Safeguarding Partnership.

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The group met the Mayor of Doncaster, the Chief Executive of City of Doncaster Council, the Director of Children’s Services and other representatives of the Safeguarding Partnership, shared the video and told the audience about how they found working on the project.

South Yorkshire Police’s Superintendent Eleanor Welsh is a member of the Safeguarding Partnership, and said she was impressed by the children’s work.

Supt Welsh said: “Clearly, these young people have put a lot of effort into creating a brilliant, accessible and informative resource which will really resonate with their peers.

“The safeguarding information the group is sharing through this video and leaflet will help give children across Doncaster vital knowledge which can help them recognise online dangers. It will also help them know how to speak up if they are worried about something they’ve experienced, and who to speak to. It’s a terrific piece of work and they should be very proud.”

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As well as the young peoples’ efforts on the Safety Net campaign, hundreds of children and adults across Doncaster will see a specially commissioned play.

The Net – Sam’s Story is an age-appropriate performance for Year 5 and 6 pupils which tells the story of a girl who believes she is tech savvy but finds her life changes when she begins sharing images on platforms inappropriate for her age.

The show explores sharing images and being contacted by strangers online, exploitation and inappropriate behaviour, and is followed by workshops to support pupils and help them understand who to turn to with any online concerns – parents and carers, other safe adults or Childline.

As well as the stage show for young people, the campaign will also include guidance for parents, carers and professionals across Doncaster on how to feel confident talking about online safety with the children they know and work with.

These conversations will help children know there is always someone to talk to, a safe adult or Childline, should they ever be worried by something they see or do online.

To find out more about online safety, go to the online safety hub on the NSPCC website, www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety

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