Whether it’s waking up and instantly checking Twitter, sneakily sending photos of your dog filter face to your mates in class, or doing a final flick through Instagram before bed, you can’t deny that our generation live our lives online.
They might not admit it, but our parents don’t really get it. Yes, they send emails for work and log onto ‘The Facebook’ occasionally, but they didn’t grow up with the internet – they remember when Google was a new thing and YouTube was just for funny cat videos.
But it’s important for our parents or carers to be more involved in our online life. Not to takeover, but to give everyone advice about staying safe out there. Because while the internet gives us amazing things like constant connection to our mates, the chance to make new friends and find new jobs, and a constant supply of Beyoncé GIFs, it can also be dangerous.
That’s why, in time for Safer Internet Day, we’re launching a special funding opportunity for people aged 13 – 25! If you have an idea for a project that can use tech to get young people and their parents or carers talking about safer ways to live online, we could give you a whopping £500 to make it happen! We’ll also be there to support you every step of the way, so that you can transform your big idea into a life-changing reality. We want you to show us how we can all unite for a better internet.
It could be an app, a play, or an event (the more creative the idea the better!) but your project needs to spark an ongoing conversation between parents or carers and young people about online safety.
Last year, O2′s Think Big funded 17-year-old Mason Robinson so that he could start creating his app, Pocket Pal. The app will help those being bullied at school.
“Last year, more than 16,000 young people in England were absent from school due to bullying. That’s a staggering number,” Mason told us. “Bullying is something which affects a lot of people, and no parent wants their child facing this alone. I believe that I have a solution for this: Pocket Pal.”
So how does it work? “The app will allow bullying victims to log onto their own private account. The account will include a live chat platform with teachers and school counsellors, meaning that if a student is being bullied then they can simply login and live chat with a suitable member of staff who can deal with the situation. This app will also give the victim top tips and methods for how to deal with bullying.”
Cat also received £500 last year to set up her project, which aims to shut down cyber bullying, and start raising awareness about how bullying exists outside of school too.
“We are determined to help young people who feel isolated as a result of cyber-bullying, and want to help those with mental health issues feel confident enough to come forward and discuss their experiences,” she told us.
Cat’s in the process of creating a series of drama workshops for victims of cyber bullying. She added: “our project aims to raise awareness of this issue and helps sufferers to develop helpful skills which will support them.”
Applications for Online Safety Projects are open now. To find out more, apply and follow in Mason and Cat’s footsteps, click here.
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