Influenced by their experiences in the digital world, a group of campaigners from Derby College have decided to use media positively to help young people stay safe online.
The students have created a video in collaboration with Fixers offering advice on how to identify and deal with online issues, aimed specifically at those with additional support needs like themselves.
The fixers are all enrolled on a ‘Pathway to Working Life’ programme at the college, which aims to give the students functional employment skills and cover issues relevant to young people ignored by the curriculum, with cyber security being a topic that resonated with the group.
‘The programme gives us skills for life and helps us get better qualifications,’ says Jessica Ogelsby, 16. ‘We want to spread awareness of online dangers, and to show people how they can avoid them, because so many people use the internet nowadays for things like job hunting and that’s so important.’
Their video provides tips on the best ways to avoid getting caught out online, suggesting young people use well known job sites and increase their social media privacy settings, as well as encouraging them to be careful in what they post online.
Jack Davis, 17, is also part of the group and has had experience of malicious online behaviour.
‘I play a lot of games, and I once had someone manage to gain access to my game library online,’ he explains. ‘We want to help people so they don’t get scammed, and have their personal information shared across the internet.’
He adds their project is also about promoting personal responsibility online.
‘I had a friend who posted a lot of anti-religious stuff online, and his mum found out and called the police on him. He was only about 12 at the time, but it’s about being aware of the consequences because employers can see what you post.’
Liam Fitzpatrick is a teaching assistant at the college, and explains why tackling these issues is so important.
‘Our programme is very responsive to the needs of the students, and aims to raise awareness of off-curriculum topics, such as internet safety, to build their foundational knowledge. It’s a very holistic approach.’
‘We are provisionally hoping to have a showcase of the project at the college, and share their work on social media.’
This project was funded by the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.