Scouts and cybersecurity tech firm Nominet have teamed up to launch a dedicated badge focused on improving online safety.
The badge, which is available to more than 400,000 Scouts in the UK, will help to mark Safer Internet Day on the 11th of February 2020 and is designed to help drive healthy and positive relationships with technology.
The badge has two age-related activities to help young people spot fake news and be more aware of their digital footprint, tapping into the theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day – online identity. Through fun and interactive tasks, the activities are intended to aid resilience, critical thinking and improve safety online.
Eleanor Bradley, MD of Registry Solutions and Public Benefit at Nominet, said: “While schools are delivering education about online safety, their capacity to do so is limited. Data from the SWGfL– a UK Safer Internet Centre partner – indicates that over 40% of schools don’t have any teacher training related to online safety. Our hope is that this dedicated Scouts badge will help plug the gap, providing an accessible offline learning environment so thousands of young people can better navigate the online world.
“Most importantly, it will help young people to develop resilience and critical thinking skills to improve their safety online by challenging assumptions and reflecting on their activity.”
Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scout Association, said: “Given our unique position working with hundreds of thousands of girls and boys to build life skills, we work hard to understand and find the best ways to engage them in having a healthy and positive relationship with technology – as well as enjoying the great outdoors. Engaging Scouts right across our Movement on an important topic in an appealing way is a key part of this, and we are delighted to be delivering this badge for Safer Internet Day thanks to Nominet, who sponsor our Digital Citizen Badge.”
Will Gardner, director of UK Safer Internet Centre, who coordinate Safer Internet Day, said: “Safer Internet Day is the biggest campaign on online safety in the world. It’s great to see so many use this day to empower and raise awareness among young people about what technology can offer, how to be kind and respectful to others, navigate it safely and feel confident to raise any concerns if they arise. That’s why we are so pleased to be working with the Scouts and Nominet on this badge to help engage more young people in the UK, and their parents, and the importance of online safety.”
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Harry Houlton, aged 16, from eXu Explorer Scout Unit in Sheffield said: “I love using social media and it’s a great way to stay in touch with my mates, but it’s good to be reminded of how to talk to my friends and stay safe online, and doing this activity at Explorers helps me think a bit about that.”
Graham Brown, explorer scout leader, eXu Scout Unit in Sheffield, added: “It’s really important to make sure that when our Scouts use the internet, that they do it in a positive and safe way. One of the activities we are launching here helps young people make positive and informed choices about what they share online. It also helps them make choices about what to share with their friends that’s fun and positive – and what information is not a good idea to share. That’s why the activities behind this badge are so important for young people to try out.”