LGBTQ+

Advice by age 7 to 18

The LGBTQ+ Index of Harms is broken down into the strands from the Education for a Connected World Framework Each strand of the framework is summarised into at least one likely harm

Self-image and identity

This strand explores the differences between online and offline identity beginning with self-awareness, shaping online identities and media influence in propagating stereotypes. It identifies effective routes for reporting and support and explores the impact of online technologies on self-image and behaviour

Likely Harm: Harm from being outed

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Exploring friendships and relationships, flirting and starting to date are a natural part of growing up All CYP have the right to make friends, explore relationships and find people they enjoy spending time with It’s really important for LGBTQ+ CYP to be able to meet, talk, and share experiences with other LGBTQ+ CYP
  • There may be significant barriers for them to be able to do so This could be due to social or community spaces not being LGBTQ+ inclusive, or safe for them to be out in This may stop LGBTQ+ CYP being aware of other LGBTQ+ CYP in their area, or from being out themselves The internet provides LGBTQ+ CYP the opportunity to meet others who also identify as LGBTQ+, and to talk about their shared experiences Whilst there are risks associated with making friends and communicating with people solely through the internet, there are also lots of positives for LGBTQ+ CYP if managed safely
  • Each person has the right to his or her own sexuality and gender identity and has the right to maintain this privately and securely
  • A key problem is when someone, such as a friend or adult inadvertently tells others online that a CYP is LGBTQ+
  • Any app or service that has a communication element has the potential to provide opportunities for LGBTQ+ CYP but also be the source of being forced to declare sexual preference or gender identity Even simple questions like “Do you have a boyfriend?” can cause significant problems for LGBTQ+ CYP as the answer will smash any idea of privacy or security
  • LGBTQ+ CYP might sign up to dating apps underage, in order to meet and chat with other LGBTQ+ people, particularly if they are facing barriers to doing this offline Sometimes this can lead to being recognised by other uses who are older, friends of people at school, college, church, etc This can lead to gossip and rumour and being forced to come out of a closet of privacy
  • Content is not moderated – underage users may encounter language and images that are adult in nature As these apps are designed for adults, the safety features found on apps used by under 18s are not as commonplace
  • Contact with adults is very likely – the majority of users are over 18 Underage users may be pressured into engaging in online behaviour outside of their comfort zone by adults

Possible responses

  • All CYP need to be aware of the age restrictions placed on different online services, and the significant risks involved with signing up to something underage
  • Support the CYP you work with to approach all their online communication safely, reinforcing key online safety advice such as keeping personal information private, not to send images of themselves to contacts they only know online, and to seek advice if anyone they are talking to online asks to meet up
  • Acknowledge why LGBTQ+ CYP may have used a dating app to meet other people they relate to, and support them to find other, safer ways to meet other LGBTQ+ CYP, for example, through LGBTQ+ youth groups, safe online spaces and communities or local
    events Let them know where they can go for support if anything concerns or worries them
  • Teach pupils and staff about maintaining privacy and inadvertent divulging of someone’s preferences and sexuality
  • PSHE teaching and learning materials

Likely Harm: Online harm & harm to mental well-being

Behaviours/Indicators

  • CYP who are questioning or querying their birth gender may face harm from online hate Some CYP are gender fluid which means they at different points can feel as though they are male or female There are also non-binary CYP who feel that they are neither male nor female
  • Intersex CYP have sometimes the physical features of both male and female They are sometimes physically one gender or both genders yet doctors and parents may have colluded to agree a gender at birth so some physical aspects may have been removed or added
  • Intersex and trans CYP will often create a different (preferred) identity online to that lived at home This is particularly the case when a child perceives that the family’s culture may not support their preferred gender identity and name, such as in highly religious homes
  • They may create new avatars for themselves under a preferred name This can be good as it allows them to express themselves in ways which may otherwise be closed to them However, creating avatars can sometimes lead to harm if people are drawn to their created persona, such as older predators For example, a boy may create himself into a beautiful female character which may then get the attention of some older heterosexual boys Similarly, some older CYP can get aggressive and react adversely against a person acting as a gender not assigned at birth Communication through online gaming may lead to divulging of secrets or private details which can affect intersex and transgender CYP
  • CYP will often keep their preferred/pseudo name and gender a secret when online Their private identity is important and privacy breaches can have devastating consequences Some CYP may be too open to divulge information and secrets
  • Sharing content online creates an ‘online identity’ – a record of who someone is and how they behave online For trans and intersex and non-binary CYP in particular, this online identity can be a source of both positive and negative experiences For many, they can express their gender identity freely, communicate with other similar people, and find positive role models. However, for some trans CYP, there may be significant challenges or trauma resulting from the existence of historical content about them online
  • If a CYP created online profiles prior to transitioning then there is a risk that old photos, videos or details such as former names could resurface post-transition This may be uncomfortable or distressing for a trans CYP or may even ‘out’ them as trans ‘Sharenting’, referring to parents sharing content about their CYP online, is another area where this kind of risk could emerge

Possible responses

  • Make sure that CYP can explain that others online can pretend to be someone else, including friends and family
  • Make sure that CYP know that they should carefully consider when they might divulge key information about their identity online including birth gender, age, where they live, etc
  • CYP can describe positive ways that they can interact with others online
  • CYP should feel confident in expressing their gender virtually in a positive way This is an important release for some pupils who cannot express themselves as individuals at home
  • Staff are trained in the different types of transgender and intersex and how to prevent mental harm
  • Transgender is visible in RSE, PSHE and other subjects in the curriculum

This information may also help professionals working with learners experiencing these other harms:

  • Online harm from accessing incorrect or inaccurate information and guidance
  • Harm from unhelpful influencers who advocate or follow unhealthy practices
  • Intimidation, Harassment & Online hate
  • Physical/domestic abuse and mental abuse from services and service users
  • Harm resulting from having an online profile and online information
  • Online harm from accessing incorrect or inaccurate information and guidance

Online reputation

This strand explores the concept of reputation and how others may use online information to make judgements. It offers opportunities to develop strategies to manage personal digital content effectively and capitalise on technology’s capacity to create effective positive profiles.

Likely Harm: Harm resulting from having an online profile and online information

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Research suggests that nearly all LGBTQ+ young people see homophobic, biphobic and transphobiccontent online. Online content can take the form of offensive posts, comments, pictures and videos about LGBTQ+ people, including in online games
  • Harm can arise from online activity which ‘likes’ LGBTQ+ events and stories in the world and from releasing too much information without understanding who could be reading it Managing online information needs caution as it can open a CYP up to extortion
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

  • Positive strategies and actions
  • Educate CYP in how to create positive online images
  • Help them to explain strategies anyone can use to protect their ‘digital personality’ and online reputation, including degrees of anonymity
  • Help CYP to report online abuse or negative information including how to complain to social media platforms
  • Show pupils some laws governing online behaviour and reputation and the potential criminal implications of breaking them
  • Show CYP how to differentiate between ethical and legal issues (eg libel, slander, homophobia, injunction, trolling) Show them the idea of malicious communications

Likely Harm: Intimidation, harassment & online hate

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Many trans women, trans men and non-binary individuals said they had avoided expressing their gender identity for fear of a negative reaction from others
  • It is important to note that gender fluid, non-binary and transgender CYP can feel unsafe in LGBTQ+ groups as well as in clubs, schools, extra-curricular clubs, etc. This is because many LGB CYP resent transgender people because gender dysphoria does not relate to sexuality. There is some opposition in LGB groups for incorporating trans CYP. This means that name calling and harassment can emanate from LGB CYP as well as cisgender CYP
  • For sanctuary, many transgender seek out in the deep or dark web, others to help them survive the abuse
  • Harassment can occur when someone learns about someone’s preferred gender through online gaming, activity and social media This can lead to intimidation and harassment – text messages, emails, being outed on social media, hints to siblings and friends thus alienating the CYP
  • (HBT) language is endemic on the internet, with almost all LGBTQ+ CYP having seen HBT content online and many have been targeted with HBT abuse
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

  • Secure online spaces ‘safe space’ are important Professionals should have sufficient knowledge of such spaces to be able to signpost CYP to where to find them
  • Ensure that reporting systems are effective and swift for non-binary, gender-fluid and transgender people
  • Stonewall: “The older guys I’ve met through Mermaids are my role models It helps to know that I can have a proper future and things can be OK” What would help is giving gender fluid and trans CYP a guide to being safe from intimidation and online hate Nearly all CYP say the internet has helped them understand more about their gender identity Online presence and research can really help if the source of the information is valid and correct
  • A support group in schools, youth centres, etc is important if they are supportive of transgender Local support networks are vital as a source of information being very careful not to prematurely urge CYP into thinking about transition
  • Information about what intimidation and harassment is and how to deal with it is very important PSHE lessons and advice in schools linking to gender identity are important Take care with restorative justice unless the victim is fully in control of the conversations and those present
  • A safe place for cisgender CYP whose family is being targeted because someone in the family is trans is very important Pupils need information, someone to speak with securely and a ‘way out’ of the harassment

Online bullying

This strand explores bullying and other online aggression and how technology impacts those issues. It offers strategies for effective reporting and intervention and considers how bullying and other aggressive behaviour relates to legislation.

Likely Harm: Online bullying can affect CYP’s mental health, confidence and self-esteem as well as their physical health

Behaviours/Indicators

  • The Internet, presents significant risks for LGBTQ+ or trans CYP. with many being the target of online abuse
  • Bullying and abuse takes many forms: comments, messages, videos or memes often revealing mean, untrue, secrets or embarrassing content
  • Whilst many LGBTQ+ CYP have been bullied online by someone they know, it’s also common for this to be a stranger and about 20% of the time an anonymous online user. For those who have been bullied, most do not report the abuse to the website, game or app it happened on
  • Online bullying can include anything from sending abusive messages or comments, to impersonating somebody or sharing their personal details online Unlike with other types of bullying, online bullies can remain anonymous and often deliberately target others when they’re in their own home, making their victims feel there is no escape This is particularly the case in communities that do not approve or condone of LGBTQ+ CYP The threats often involve threatening to tell their parents and are sometimes accompanied by an attempt to extort
  • With so many LGBTQ+ CYP experiencing high levels of HBT abuse, this can lead become a normal part of daily life. This can lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings, guilt and self-esteem issues. Support provided by adults isn’t always constructive (e.g. “just come off the internet then”.

Possible responses

  • There are some key statutory requirements, as well as guidance and advice, for all schools and colleges in relation to online bullying All school and college staff have a legal responsibility to provide a safe environment in which CYP can learn, and this includes online as well as physical spaces All schools and colleges are required to follow anti-discrimination laws, and staff must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school under the Human Rights Act 1998
  • Some strategies could include: Helping CYP in how to report incidents securely, train all staff so that they take all incidents seriously, know how to respond and give practical, realistic and helpful advice and avoid impractical advice such as “Come off the internet”
  • Anti-bullying procedures covered for LGBTQ+ CYP PSHE and other subjects to include positive images and learning about LGBTQ+ CYP
  • Provide strategies to increase CYP’s resilience but also in knowing how to respond

Likely Harm: Physical/domestic abuse and mental abuse from services and service users

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Evidence suggests that transgender people are at greater risk than the general population of being victims of online crime
  • Underreporting of online hate crime is a particular issue Transgender people can be unwilling to use relevant services for fear of transphobic responses from staff and service users or because they do not think the response will meet their needs ONS records that 28 per cent of transgender people have reported crime more than twice the proportion of cis people
  • There is evidence of bullying of heterosexual CYP with a transgender parent, sibling or family member– this can occur on and offline
  • Intersex and non-binary CYP suffer significant abuse such as “Make your mind up”, “Show us that you are a girl”, etc The sexual harassment online through penetrating and personal questions can be highly disturbing for minority CYP

Possible responses

  • Maintaining online security and privacy is a vital part of keeping transgender people safe This can mean strong privacy settings, closed online clubs with access through invite only
  • Having a professional who can be trusted in key professions such as education, police, medical service is vital Key to understanding the problem is that CYP are unlikely to have the backing of friends and family particularly in families with fundamental or conservative beliefs
  • Effective strategies could be: To describe positive ways for someone to interact with others online and understand how this will positively impact on how others perceive them. To have confidence in online reporting of crime, harassment, bullying and intimidation. Have a contact who has the knowledge necessary regarding gender dysphoria, gender fluidity, bi-gender, and the full range of transgender
  • Online relationships with trusted people can help protect CYP from physical abuse and bullying

This information may also help professionals working with learners experiencing these other harms:

  • Intimidation, Harassment & Online hate

Managing Online Information

This strand explores how online information is found, viewed and interpreted. It offers strategies for effective searching, critical evaluation of data, the recognition of risks and the management of online threats and challenges. It explores how online threats can pose risks to our physical safety as well as online safety. It also covers learning relevant to ethical publishing

Likely Harm: Online information can be found, viewed and interpreted

Behaviours/Indicators

  • From Stonewall 2017: Many LGBTQ+ CYP use the Internet to help them to understand themselves, find positive role models and find information and support Almost all say the Internet has helped them understand more about their sexual orientation and has helped them find advice and support about this
  • There are negatives to finding information specific to LGBTQ+ CYP. Many CYP from age 10 are alone at home, with nobody they can open up to ask questions or find information. This is particularly important to CYP who are questioning or at early stages of forming an idea of sexuality
  • Not so deep into the internet is incorrect or misinformation or fake science such as conversion therapies (gay cure), disinformation about being LGBTQ+ is evil or wrong. To a vulnerable LGBTQ+ CYP, accessing incorrect information can be a significant risk
  • Young CYP access information through many devices and quickly can access pornographic, indecent images when they are only searching for information This then becomes part of a browser history which can lead to significant and negative issues at home or school
  • When CYP search for information online, the sites they access aren’t always age-appropriate or reliable. This potentially is a significant harm. Some content is discriminatory, extreme or harmful. The harm is leaving LGBTQ+ CYPCYP who are seeking support to end up feeling confused, scared or upset about their sexual orientation
  • Experiencing or witnessing this kind of targeted hate speech or abuse can be extremely upsetting for any CYP and may make LGBTQ+ CYP feel unsafe when using the internet LGBTQ+ CYP who aren’t out might find hate speech and HBT abuse particularly distressing – hearing or witnessing it might make them feel they can’t tell anyone about their gender identity or sexual orientation

Possible responses

  • Strategies when a CYP is identified as accessing inaccurate or harmful information and guidance
  • Identify secure and safe sites for lesbians, bisexual, gay CYP that they can find accurate information. Communicate these sites so as not to draw attention to any individual
  • Fact check sites for misinformation and potentially harmful content such as gay conversion therapies
  • Identify trusted knowledgeable adults with whom CYP can consult and confide With LGBTQ+ CYP worries and concerns that are not automatically shared with parents and family members can cause significant risk at home and put pupils in immediate danger
  • Train staff in what to look out for in the area of incorrect information and guidance and know how to guide CYP to correct information

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle

This strand explores the impact that technology has on health, well-being and lifestyle e.g. mood, sleep, body health and relationships. It also includes understanding negative behaviours and issues amplified and sustained by online technologies and the strategies for dealing with them

Likely Harm: Honey traps, meeting strangers offline  

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Because it is much harder to meet other LGB CYP of the same age, a large proportion of CYP decide to meet those with whom they are communicating This is particularly the case in rural, small towns, and particular communities such as religious communities
  • Online conversations, gaming and social media can lead to putting themselves in danger One such danger is a honey trap This is where CYP are tempted to meet someone for flirting, sex, posing for photos, or just for a conversation
  • The host then turns out to be someone different, or someone who is aggressive, or in some cases, a number of people who wait in a different room There are also cases of people following a CYP to the meet This has, in extreme cases, involved being forced to pose sexually, get involved in under-age or illicit sex acts, drug taking (sometimes specific to the LGB community such as poppers) or has resulted in violence Online there are examples of LGBTQ+ people being lured to apartments to meet someone they have been speaking with online only to find a group of aggressive people and finding themselves unable to leave
  • Further risks occur with anonymous behaviour online which can provide LGBTQ+ CYP with opportunities to engage in risky behaviours: Meeting someone they met online in real life, meeting someone older than them and using adult dating apps like Tinder or Grindr to meet up, sometimes without telling an adult where they are
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

  • Personal safety training such as that offered by the Suzy Lamplugh charity
  • PSHE lessons focused on the dangers of drug abuse, meeting strangers, etc
  • Computing lessons focused on personal safety
  • Important personal safety features such as tracking where the CYP is

Likely Harm: Harm from pornography and explicit material online

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Most, but not all, LGBTQ+ CYP have been taught in school about heathy relationships and practising safe sex This may not always be the case in all schools Very few CYP have learnt about safe sex, healthy relationships and unhealthy practices in relation to same-sex relationships in all types of school Some CYP have never received RSE regarding LGBTQ+
  • The ease with which online pornography and explicit sexual material is accessible and available through games, television, telephones and the internet means that for some CYP, their first exposure to LGBTQ+ relationships and sexual activity may come via explicit material, and sometimes this happens at a very young age
  • Being curious about sex and relationships is a natural part of growing up for most people, but viewing pornography can have a negative impact on CYP For example, it can lead to:
    Unrealistic expectations of body image and performance, which could leave CYP questioning their own shape, size and overall appearance
  • More risky or violent sexual behaviour, which might leave a CYP with a warped attitude towards the sexual behaviour they expect to experience
  • Unrealistic attitudes towards gender roles and identities in relationships Harmful domineering and controlling relationships
  • Adult, violent or discriminatory language about sexual behaviour, relationships, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity
  • It is typical for most mainstream pornography to be produced to appeal to certain type of straight male audience This means the content is not always reflective of the diversity

Possible responses

Strategies for teaching CYP about relationship and sex education:

  • Teach pupils about safe sex in different relationships including same-gender relationships
  • Teach pupils about realistic body shapes and sizes
  • Teach pupils the correct terminology within relationships and sex education
  • Correct pupils’ misconceptions and inaccurate understanding

Likely Harm: Harm from grooming, child sexual exploitation (CSE)

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Extreme content on the internet such as the content which promotes extreme beliefs or harmful behaviours In an increasingly smaller world, images and content from other countries are readily available in any internet search
  • There is also extreme content which promotes self-harm, suicide, eating disorders and drug taking such as hormones, ‘gay cure therapies’ and drugs, etc The content can be found across multiple online platforms – websites, forums, discussion pages, social media services and video services For all CYP, exposure to this kind of content can pose a risk to both their mental and physical well-being, especially in instances where the content is not easily recognisable as extreme and where CYP may believe themselves to be engaging with a reasonable or trustworthy source
  • Online grooming is a potential harm CYP, by using online dating apps, may be groomed by older men and women Often by posing as a younger person, the groomer is able to convince the CYP into performing sexual acts with them. This is facilitated by the anonymity of the internet The older person may give the CYP gifts in order to encourage more risky behaviour, which may be recorded and onward shared
  • There is also a high level of coercion such as persuading the CYP into sending them sexually explicit photos or videos or money, or, in a few cases, identity paperwork. In LGBTQ+ communities youth produced sexual imagery may be shared more commonly than in other communities. And whilst almost all LGBTQ+ CYP have been taught about staying safe online, those who missed this learning are more likely not to tell anyone when meeting up with someone they met online.
  • Some groomers set up and use fake accounts and stock photos, appear to be the same age as the child such as using old photographs or photographs of random people Some groomers will be honest about their own age, wishing to appear as a mentor or similar figure for the child they are targeting In gay circles some men describe themselves as daddies or uncles This can also lead to private chats or in private forums or using methods with video and pictures that disappear quickly
  • In the absence of other role models, if an LGBTQ+ CYP is struggling to come out or is looking for support, an online friend may offer a welcome reprieve This is particularly the case if the community or family is hostile to LGBTQ+ people Additionally, some LGBTQ+ CYP deliberately use adult sites because they think it’s an easier way to meet people, explore their sexuality, or feel accepted – particularly outside cities
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

  • Staff need to access training so that they are able to identify LGBTQ+-specific aspects of grooming and CSE which are different in some ways to heterosexual grooming
  • Educate CYP Education by social workers, health professionals, educators and youth workers are vital in explaining the dangers to CYP to identify the signs of CSE and grooming
  • Filtering and monitoring of content at school and when away from school
  • Help for parents in recognising the signs and how to prevent harm and finding extreme content
  • Staff help LGBTQ+ pupils who are becoming embroiled in diet disorders
  • Teach pupils and staff about LGBTQ+-related drugs and alcohol
  • Teach staff and CYP the techniques of LGBTQ+ groomers and how to avoid them

Likely Harm: Harm in the form of sexual harassment

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Sexual harassment often happens peer-to-peer – between CYP in their own communities It includes memes, doctored images, images, videos, posts, messages Sexual harassment can include sexual comments or jokes, physical behaviour including unwelcome sexual advances, touching and various forms of sexual assault displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature, sending emails with a sexual content violating dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment
  • It can make an LGB CYP, particularly in the early stages of wresting with their sexuality, feel threatened, exploited, coerced, humiliated, upset, sexualised or discriminated against For LGBTQ+ CYP, their sexual orientation and/or gender identity could be the reason, or part of the reason, they are targeted
  • Sometimes they are targeted by others in the ‘closet’ who use the harassment as a way of gratifying a sexuality they dare not express

Possible responses

  • Securely report incidents of harassment to trusted adults and to LGB charities
  • Train staff and adults to break myths of biphobia
  • Train staff in how to spot and record sexual harassment
  • Teach CYP and adults about what harassment looks like
  • Report incidents securely but importantly, follow them up so that they cannot reoccur
  • Create a culture of accepting difference

Likely Harm: Harm to self-confidence, self-esteem, future careers and social mobility

Behaviours/Indicators

  • LGBTQ+ CYP have high levels of social media use, and share hundreds of comments and photos
  • There is self-induced and peer pressure and societal pressure to look a particular way The internet is often used as a platform for individuals to share content which offer an unrealistic idea of what is ‘normal’
  • For all CYP, hormonal and physical changes while growing up can impact their self-esteem and emotional state, but the portrayal of idealised bodies and beauty online may also factor into their own feelings of self-worth For LGBTQ+ CYP, this risk could be exacerbated if the internet plays a heightened role in exploring their identity For example, a lack of known LGBTQ+ adults at school or in their local community could lead to LGBTQ+ CYP finding role models online If content shared online by these role models showcases only the highlights of their daily life (in which they, for example, appear wealthy, attractive, happily ‘out’ as LGBTQ+, and have many friends and/or partners) this could lead to unfair and upsetting comparison by LGBTQ+ CYP with their own lives and experiences It’s important that LGBTQ+ CYP, like all CYP, see a range of body types, gender identities, sexual orientations, ethnicities, disabilities and more represented wherever possible
  • The number of LGBTQ+ CYP suffering from mental health issues is disproportionate compared to CYP in general For many LGBTQ+ CYP, the internet is a vital support system, helping them find advice and support about their sexual orientation and gender identity
  • The percentages of LGBTQ+ CYP who have though about suicide are far higher than for CYP in general: Young Minds estimates that one in four CYP have had these thoughts
  • The lack of CIAG for LGBTQ+ people is a significant concern
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

  • Make sure that CYP know that others online can pretend to be someone else, including friends and family
  • Make sure that CYP know that they must not divulge key information about their identity online including birth gender, age, where they live, etc
  • CYP can describe positive ways that they can interact with others online
  • CYP should feel confident in expressing their gender virtually in a positive way This is an important release for some pupils who cannot express themselves as individuals at home
  • Staff are trained in the different types of transgender and intersex and how to prevent mental harm
  • Transgender is visible in RSE, PSHE and other subjects in the curriculum

Likely Harm: Harm from grooming, child sexual exploitation (CSE)

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Suicide and self-harm as a result of bullying, desperation, loneliness, isolation and living in a non-caring environment A feeling of there being no hope and no way out. Perhaps as a consequence of this, the prevalence of self-harm and suicide may be higher in LGBTQ+ CYP communities
  • CYP try to access the deep or dark web to seek out how to self-harm and commit suicide They sometimes become prone to unsympathetic people who encourage them to harm and film it
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

Effective strategies:

  • Train staff to identify self-harm and a CYP’s deteriorating confidence Staff should know which safe space to signpost to
  • Train staff to be able to include positive statements and images about intersex, non-binary, transgender in the different subjects
  • Create support groups and networks, mentors and coaches, to allow CYP access to trusted positive role models
  • Include gender identity, non-binary and intersex in policies and procedures such as how to deal with a request for a preferred name
  • Good sources of information and groups for CYP are essential
  • Identify appropriate counselling and support services suitable to support LGBTQ+QI+ community members with quality advice, support and guidance

This information may also help professionals working with learners experiencing these other harms:

  • Online harm from accessing incorrect or inaccurate information and guidance
  • Harm from unhelpful influencers who advocate or follow unhealthy practices
  • Harm from being outed
  • Online harm & Harm to mental wellbeing

Privacy and security

This strand explores how personal online information can be used, stored, processed and shared. It offers both behavioural and technical strategies to limit impact on privacy and protect data and systems against compromise.

Likely Harm: Online harm through impersonated online presence

Behaviours/Indicators

  • The internet gives the opportunity to talk to and meet other LGBTQ+ CYP. Access to Social Media sites facilitates conversations between LGBTQ+ CYP which can lower anxiety. Private messaging is another popular way GBTQ+ CYP can contact others. The popularity of private messaging may be linked to the perceived privacy offered.
  • The harm online is when there is a false Twitter/Facebook or social media account with a false photograph, etc and the CYP is tricked/duped into giving false information and private details including photographs and details of where they live This can also be, for example, someone impersonating an LGBTQ+ CYP’s friend to get personal details which they can then spread to others or use for extortion/bribery This can sometimes lead to harassment, graffiti of where they live, offensive phone calls, ghost calls, stalking, harassment and intimidation
  • Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

It is important not to restrict access for LGBTQ+ CYP Many may be in abusive or unsupportive families or communities
Adults however, to be safe:

  • Should teach students how to identify and recognise false accounts or to go through verification to check the account is real
  • Teach how any images and videos can be digitally manipulated
  • Teach CYP to understand that social media accounts are not always true and to check authenticity of the people with whom they are playing games and communicating
  • Teach how to securely report any incidents of harassment or unkind messages and terms Know that fake accounts may be a criminal act and know how to report this to the police
  • Teach pupils how to use secure and accurate advice such as through safer internet cafes

Copyright and ownership

This strand explores the concept of ownership of online content. It explores strategies for protecting personal content and crediting the rights of others as well as addressing potential consequences of illegal access, download and distribution

Likely Harm: Harm from unhelpful influencers who advocate or follow unhealthy practices

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Nearly all LGBTQ+ CYP say the Internet has helped them find positive role models with nine in ten LGBTQ+ CYP saying they can be themselves online
  • The harm comes when the role models, influencers, etc are negative and suggest potentially harmful things or harmful advice As CYP search and surf the net, not too deep into any search it is possible to find some famous people who have self-harmed, committed suicide, taken illicit drugs, overdosed, overreaching cosmetic surgery etc
  • In some instances, CYP may be encouraged to plagiarise, copy or ignore ownership of brands, photographs, video clips etc. They may also contravene trading law by ordering drugs online such as from Canada or Thailand They may also become duped to let go of the ownership of their own images and videos by sending them to others

Statistics to support this can be found in the Stonewall School Report (2017)

Possible responses

  • To promote well-being it is worthwhile for professionals to suggest positive role models younger and older The suggested role models, however, need to be checked and vetted to ensure that within their advice or lives they do not advocate harmful activity
  • A list of a full range of role models would be useful including bisexuals, lesbians, gay, transgender, intersex and questioning CYP PSHE teaching and courses should identify the harms in following negative advice advocated by celebrities
  • In CYP’s homes and in fostering/adoption placements having biographies or online links to role models/mentors is highly useful in pointing CYP towards positive messages
  • Professionals should explain the concept of plagiarism, copyright law and ownership They should know who owns images once they have posted them

Useful resources

See our list of useful resources for further support.

Inclusive digital safety resources

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Professional Online Safety Helpline

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Over 13 – Report Harmful Content Professional Online Safety Helpline

Project Envolve

 

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Making the internet safer and more inclusive

Together with SWGfL we've created this hub to provide online safety advice and gudience to support parents & professionals working with children and young people experiencing vulnerabilities

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