This report summarises the findings of the workshops and extensive consultation that we carried out with young people, parents, carers, and teachers to help us to create the Connecting Safely Online advice hub.
This is a report about differences and commonalities. About how children with additional needs use social media in the same way as their non-vulnerable friends, with potentially different and unconsidered consequences.
About how parents and teachers of these children, who they describe as “innocents online” are profoundly concerned about their online lives. About the gap between what young people are doing online and what parents think they are doing.
David Miles, Head of Safety EMEA Facebook provides an introduction to the report highlighting why this work is important to Facebook and more specifically to vulnerable young people and their families.
“Technology is often a lifeline for parents, particularly those with vulnerable children. Safety and wellbeing are really important to us at Facebook, and that’s why we have plenty of tools on our platform that are designed to keep families happy and safe online.”
The executive summary explains the overall insights and suggestions detailed in the report and highlights the need to draw from young people, parents, and caregivers to create a resource hub that addresses some of the issues that children with SEND face online.
Methodology for Young people workshops
Two half-day workshops were delivered. Large and small group discussions, writing on boards, and on the graffiti banner with markers, all offered different opportunities to engage. These were broken into 15–20 minute segments to allow the young people a variety of media to express themselves.
Workshops were delivered by Adrienne Katz, director of Youthworks, and facilitated by John Khan to hear direct input from young people. The Youthworks team included graffiti art by Tom Goulden and Ed Shearan, with filming by Caroline Jones and data collection by Marcus Bell.
Parents and Carers Focus Groups
Internet Matters ran simultaneous workshops with parents, carers, and teachers. The format of these focus groups was much more traditional, with adults debating and discussing several themes and ideas. As stand-alone pieces of research, the insights from the children and young people and those of the adults who care for them are both very interesting. Synoptically they are fascinating as they tell separate, perhaps parallel stories.
You’ll find a summary of the findings and the insights that were gained from the young people at the workshops.
Here you’ll find a short summary of what parents, carers, and teachers shared about young people’s online use. From the benefits of social media to their concerns about the potential risks to young people based on their understanding of interactions online.
This section covers specific areas that young people spoke of needed support on which were used to form the basis of the content which features on the new advice hub Connecting Safely Online.
This section analyses the parents, carers, and teachers’ responses to a set of questions about children’s online use. These responses were also used to help build out the advice to parents featured on the Connecting Online Safely advice hub.
The purpose of this research was to inform the creation of a suite of resources for young people with SEND and their families and teachers. It was fascinating to see the differences and commonalities between young people and the adults that care for them and to tease out how to make the resources genuinely useful. At the heart of that was the understanding that these teenagers use social media in precisely the same way as every other teen – to socialise, to connect, to be entertained and to learn.
See related advice and practical tips to support children online: