Impact report 2019 – 2020

Together for a better internet

In this year’s impact report, we’ve taken a look back at the great work that we’ve achieved to support families at a time when technology became a vital part of children’s lives to help them connect, learn and socialise.

Take a look at how collaboration with industry and online safety experts helped us deliver on our vision to ‘…inspire leading organisations to create together a future where children and young people are prepared to benefit safely from the impact of connected technology.’

Margot James

Internet Matters Chairperson

Message from Chairperson

“As the period covered by this report came to an end, the world changed. The advent of a global pandemic drove more children online than ever before – to stay connected to friends and loved ones, for education as the schools closed, and for entertainment as staying in became the new going out.

This year has shown us that more than ever connected technology is an incredible force for good – it has underpinned the lives of children and adults alike. The detriment caused to those children without online access during this time has been a severe hardship.”

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But we all know that children and young people encounter risk whilst they are online, so it remains vital that we continue to support families with the challenges they face in keeping their children free from harm. We look forward to a world where there is appropriate regulation of the internet and where the products that children use have been designed with their best interests at heart. But even with these developments children will always need the support of parents, carers and professionals to develop the skills they need to get the best from connected technology. We cannot leave families to deal with the extraordinary range of risks their children face alone.

The work of Internet Matters cannot be achieved without the support of our growing number of industry partners and their consistent commitment since we started our work in 2014. Their support, and their willingness to collaborate on a sustained basis, has allowed Internet Matters to make a real impact in the lives of children and young people which you will see throughout this report. That’s why I was delighted to join Internet Matters as the inaugural Chairperson in September 2020. Finally, Internet Matters prides itself on being a collaborative organisation and as such, it works with a wide range of experts, academics, and third sector organisations. We’d like to extend our thanks to them for their support for our work, it is simply better as a result of their input.

Impact report highlights

A year in review

April 2019 – March 2020

Impact and Action

Understanding the impact of Internet Matters is vitally important to ensure we continue to support the needs of parents and professionals. To do this we work with an independent research agency that manages our Impact Assessment Programme.

of parents say Internet Matters is one of the first places they would look for online safety advice

of parents are more likely to spend time learning about online safety

of parents are more likely to talk to their children about staying safe online

of parents feel better equipped to keep their children safe online

of parents are more likely to make use of privacy settings on social media

of parents are more likely to make use of privacy settings on social media

Almost 9 in 10 parents would recommend Internet Matters

Awareness and Usage

The challenge of helping children to remain happy and healthy online touches almost every family in the country, so expanding our reach to drive awareness is critical. Along with our partners, we continue to collectively find innovative ways of reaching and engaging with parents.

image 47% of families in the UK have heard of Internet Matters
image Over 90,000 people and organisations follow us on social media
image 3.5 million people visited and engaged with the resources on our website
image Visitors to our site viewed more than 5.2m pages of advice
image More than 2.5 million people watched one of our videos
image More than 1,800 mentions in the press including TV, radio, press and online
image 1 in 10 of every children’s online safety story features Internet Matters

Awareness and Usage

The challenge of helping children to remain happy and healthy online touches almost every family in the country, so expanding our reach to drive awareness is critical. Along with our partners, we continue to collectively find innovative ways of reaching and engaging with parents.

image 47% of families in the UK have heard of Internet Matters
image Over 90,000 people and organisations follow us on social media
image 3.5 million people visited and engaged with the resources on our website
image Visitors to our site viewed more than 5.2m pages of advice
image More than 2.5 million people watched one of our videos
image More than 1,800 mentions in the press including TV, radio, press and online
image 1 in 10 of every children’s online safety story features Internet Matters

Themes we focused on to support parents

The report showcases two areas of focus for us in 2019/20; Digital Wellbeing and Vulnerable Children. Below you’ll find links to the campaigns we launched and the resources that we created.

Digital Wellbeing

Our Campaign

Internet Matters wanted to create a campaign that encouraged parents to engage with their children’s digital world. We wanted to raise awareness and help families support their children so they can enjoy their digital worlds safely and get the right digital balance through agreeing on boundaries and ensuring time on the internet is well spent.

The core thought behind the campaign was that if parents left it up to their children, they may never turn off their screen. The persuasive design of the digital playground is very compelling for children and young people, which makes it vitally important that children are guided by their parents to have a balanced digital diet. Our campaign demonstrated opposite ends of screen time usage, from the isolated, sometimes mindless viewing of content to celebrating how technology can be utilised to bring family together for a shared experience.

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Vulnerable children

Focussed activity to support those most at risk online

Our publication of Youthworks report: “Vulnerable Children in a Digital World” and the response to it proved a pivotal moment for Internet Matters. The report demonstrated that vulnerable children and young people are encountering greater risks online than their non-vulnerable peers and that if we understand the offline vulnerabilities faced we can predict the type of risk they will encounter.

As an organisation dedicated to helping children stay safe online we recognised that we had to create a response to this issue – and that making a difference was something that would require significant collaboration between a raft of organisations.

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Working collaboratively

We are proud to be supported by some of the biggest names in the UK, and together we work with them to not only support their online safety initiatives but to drive awareness of internetmatters.org.

BT Group

In 2019 BT launched a new initiative Skills for Tomorrow. An online and community programme designed to provide accessible digital training to all, with the ambition of reaching 10 million people in the UK by 2025. Prior to the Skills for Tomorrow launch, we worked with Plusnet to create Plays on the Internet.

Sky

This year Sky added innovative new tools to help keep families safe online: Sky Broadband Buddy (which works like a remote control for the internet to help manage screen time and set limits) and SPACETALK kids watch (a simple alternative to smartphones for 5-12’s that allows them to make and receive calls from known contacts). We worked together to support the launch; with onsite guides and an event that engaged influential parenting bloggers to explore and discuss the new features.

TalkTalk

talktalk logoTalkTalk have been an active supporter of Internet Matters and to mark Safer Internet Day in 2020 they ran a series of events to engage and support employees as part of their internal ‘Together Series’. This included facilitating one of our Google-hosted workshops and invited us to join a panel event at their head office in Salford to talk about parenting in the digital world. Alongside celebrity parent Myleene Klass, Tess Foster from the BBC and TalkTalk’s Nicholas Gunga, we were able to share first-hand advice on how to prepare for situations that may arise. Having both us and the BBC on the panel was another great example to demonstrate our collaborative efforts in action.

Virgin

Virgin Media continue to help us reach parents at scale by amplifying our campaigns and getting behind key calendar events. From social channel support and exposure through their digital and TV platforms, Virgin Media also reinforce our partnership with employees through their intranet, and with customers through high impact placements on their customer home page and direct communication through email and newsletters.

Google

Last year Google developed a free online safety training course to help parents learn how to keep their children safe online hosted at their ‘Digital Garage’ in Sunderland and Edinburgh. This year we expanded the programme to take the workshop to other Internet Matters partners – with successful events held at both Sky and TalkTalk head offices.

BBC

The BBC continue to work closely with Internet Matters, sharing insights and expertise plus offering jointly produced content to families that is designed to guide and support parents and carers – and also to encourage kids to make smart choices and live their best life online.

We were excited to collaborate on the launch of the BBC Own It app producing informative videos for parents; and as it became apparent in 2020 that lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions meant that families required so much more support, we joined together again.

Internet Matters expert Andy Robertson presented content for the BBC on staying connected during the lockdown and how gaming can help to de-stress both kids and adults alike during difficult times. The content was promoted on the BBC homepage and social platforms.

Working with our corporate partners

ESET

Making a meaningful difference for children online globally is key for ESET. We were pleased to identify our most popular pages for them to adapt for use in different territories including Brazil, Germany, Japan, North America, and Slovakia – ensuring our message of talking to your children, setting up safely and understanding what your children are doing online reached a wider audience. We are looking forward to expanding our work with ESET into providing some curriculum resources for teachers to support the introduction of the new relationship education curriculum.

Facebook & Instagram

Facebook has continued to provide welcomed advertising support across their platforms, enabling us to reach parents continuously throughout the year.

In addition, we collaborated on a project with Instagram and The Jed Foundation to showcase their Pressure to be Perfect toolkit. Designed to help young people (13+) have a positive and balanced experience when engaging with the platform, the toolkit helps adults navigate conversations with young people about their Instagram usage, to consider the impact on their emotional wellbeing and how to feel free to explore their identity and express themselves freely.

Huawei

Connectivity is key for Huawei and we have a proven model of commissioning research with their support. This year we commissioned an independent report into the future of technology in the home with Professor Lynne Hall at the University of Sunderland. This type of future looking academic research is a new approach for us – the report helped to provide a scene setter on the technologies likely to have an impact on families in the future including: smart devices, voice assistant, interactive toys and virtual reality. We’ll be using the findings to look at opportunities presented by this tech and to suggest recommendations for future improvements in light of the Age Appropriate Design Code. The research began before the global pandemic but was subsequently adapted to capture the change in use and perception of tech as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Samsung

After launching our joint microsite and Samsung device guides last year, we worked together to create a bespoke online safety workshop hosted at their new impressive space in central London; Samsung KX. Samsung were keen to give customers free hands-on advice, showcase live demos of online safety tools, offer the chance to ask questions and discuss topics with other parents. The workshop was designed to engage both parents and children, also highlighting specific tools available to Samsung customers. Through their partnership with SafeToNet, Samsung Galaxy customers are offered a free trial of the safeguarding assistant app for children’s devices. Following a successful workshop held in February, the plan is to make this a long-term initiative, running monthly when circumstances allow.

Supercell

We were thrilled to welcome Supercell as a corporate partner this year. Supercell is a global mobile gaming company, known for popular games such as Clash of Clans and Brawl Stars. As a result of our collaboration we developed a new range of mobile gaming resources in a range of different languages including English, French, Mandarin, Spanish and German to increase accessibility to parents both in the UK and globally. To support the new advice, we launched a PR and social campaign #Pledge2Game to help promote positive and healthy gaming.

Three

As a mobile operator, Three UK recognises they have a huge role to play in supporting families to keep their children safe online. With 5G launching in the UK and gaming expected to continue playing a significant role in children’s lives, Three sponsored and promoted our independent research report – Parenting Generation Game; a look at parents’ views of their child’s relationship with gaming across all devices and platforms. The report findings informed our age-appropriate resources that now sit on our gaming hub, and more recently the insight has been used to inform our response to the government’s Loot Box consultation. In addition, Three also created free courses for parents through their Discovery programme in store and online, for anyone who wanted to learn more.

TikTok

We were pleased to welcome TikTok as a Corporate Partner this year and have since undertaken a major research project together; to understand the views of families on online safety and their expectations from social media companies. The insights have been acted upon by TikTok’s global team, informing development of their safety features and how they are best communicated. In addition, we created a new guide on our website to give parents/ users practical advice to help familiarise them with the safety settings. As TikTok’s popularity has grown rapidly, it is unsurprising that this has become one of our most popular pages.

Working with our supporters

Our supporters help Internet Matters with their valuable time and resources, playing an important role in helping us to reach and support as many parents as possible.

Twitter

As one of Twitter’s core charity partners, their ongoing commitment through pro bono advertising helps us to keep raising awareness of our advice and new resources with core audiences; parents and professionals.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s support enabled us to sign our most popular videos for the first time. It’s helped us to make our 5 top videos accessible for parents with hearing difficulties.

KCOM

KCOM is one of the longest-established providers of communications services in the UK, connecting both businesses and residential customers and investing in better digital solutions for everyone and are a proud supporter of Internet Matters.

Working with our Expert Advisory Panel

The work of Internet Matters is richer, better and more insightful because of the range of experts we work with. We wanted to thank the members of our Expert Advisory Panel, whose contribution to our work has been invaluable. We really do appreciate the time and expertise provided to Internet Matters.

John Carr, Secretary of the Coalition of Children’s Charities
Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO, Kidscape
Marie Smith, Head of Education, CEOP
Jonathan Baggaley, Chief Executive, PSHE Association
Tony Stower, Public Affairs Manager, NSPCC
Martha Evans, Director, Anti-Bullying Alliance
Pamela Park, Deputy Chief Executive, Family Lives
Steve Bailey, National Programme Development Manager, Barnardo’s
Will Gardner – CEO, Childnet

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