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YouTube educates Internet Citizens

The social network's education project empowers hundreds of UK teens to drive positive change online

Posted by Charley Rogers | December 27, 2017 | Technology

New research reveals how young people in the UK are learning digital citizenship after participating in Internet Citizens, YouTube’s education project run in partnership with ISD (Institute for Strategic Dialogue), UK Youth, Livity, and Wonder. 

Internet Citizens launched in April this year and has already directly trained over 500 young people aged 13-18 as well as 75 youth workers. Delivered through day-long workshops held at youth centres across the UK, Internet Citizens was designed to teach critical thinking and digital citizenship, empowering young people to be positive voices online while increasing their resilience to hate and extremism.

This research, conducted by ISD, shows significant positive changes were observed amongst participants at the workshops. The vast majority (84%) of those who attended the sessions now feel confident that they would know what to do if they came across hate speech online. 82% of participants also claimed they could now spot fake news and 83% said they would change their behaviour online following the workshop.

This report also provides guidance on how best to train young people to recognise and challenge hate online, insights which will help inform digital citizenship education across the country. In particular, the report’s authors call for digital citizenship to be embedded into the National Curriculum, as a vital component of education for young people. 

Announced by YouTube in July, the next phase of Internet Citizens will build on this proven model and scale to reach 20,000 young people across the UK in 2018 in both youth centres and schools.

ISD CEO Sasha Havlicek commented, “The results from the initial phase of the Internet Citizens project are incredibly encouraging. This analysis demonstrates the positive impact that can be achieved through non-formal digital citizenship education in an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere.

“As online spaces play an increasingly vital role in our social, cultural and political lives, it is important young people feel confident to make their voices heard, stay safe and play a positive role as citizens in the online space.”

Internet Citizens is part of YouTube’s global Creators for Change movement, which supports video creators who are tackling social issues and promoting awareness, tolerance and empathy on their YouTube channels.  

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