News

01 June 2021

Helping to keep all children safe online this Pride month

Teen selfie Pride article - exp 17.03.26

June is Pride month – a month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world and for the second year in a row, most Pride celebrations will be virtual due to the uncertainty on COVID restrictions on large gatherings.

We want all children to be able to have a safe and positive experience when they go online, but we know that some children are more at risk of having a negative experience than others.

The internet can offer LGBTQ+ children and young people a space where they have a sense of belonging and community, a space where they can explore their own identity. But it can also be a place where they are exposed to bullying or inappropriate content – even more so in a time when more is happening online than ever before.

Children and young people may use online space for sharing photos or other content, making friends with similar interests, looking for and giving support and a sense of community where they belong. It is important for LGBTQ+ young people to be able to use the internet to connect with who they are and explore their identity and sexual orientation but this may expose them to risks online.

Some things that children and young people might see or experience online that are upsetting are abusive comments or language, bullying or being asked to share personal and private photos.

Here are some tips to help you keep your child safe online:

Reassure your child that you are on their side and here to support them, and that they can talk to you about things online as well as offline. It is also a good time to talk to all children about how they should treat people online, being kind to others and respecting their choices.
Listen to your child about their experiences online and look out for signs that they have had a negative experience. Find out more about cyberbullying: what it is and what you can do to help.
Explore how to report and block comments and users on their favourite apps, so that they know what to do if the experience hurtful comments.
Talk to your child about sharing content with others and some of the things they should think about before they do. Here are some tips on how to keep them safe sharing content.
Some sites have introduced a new section on profiles to include preferred pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them). Are there any influencers your child follows that have included these? Talk about why they might want to, and why it is important to respect the choices others are sharing too.
Talking about these new features are a good way to explore with your child what settings they have in place on their profiles and how they can use different settings to express themselves safely.

 

We spoke to Stonewall about the many positives that being online can bring to LGBTQ+ young people:

The digital world is really import for our LGBTQ+ young people!  It is vital for connecting with our wider communities, for building confidence to be our true selves and learning more about our LGBTQ+ history, present and being part of shaping our futures.

Nine in ten LGBT young people (90 per cent) say they can be themselves online, and nearly all LGBT young people (95 per cent) say the internet has helped them find positive role models. In this sense, it can be a great source of hope for some of our young people who have few LGBTQ+ peers around them at school, college, at work or in their community.

Mo Wiltshire, Director of Education & Youth and Designated Safeguarding Lead - Stonewall

 

If you or your child need further advice, these organisations can help:

  • Stonewall – An organisation who support and empower individuals to be their authentic selves. You can find advice and help on their website.
  • NSPCC – Advice on how to support your child if they've come out or are questioning their sexuality or sexual orientation.
  • Childline – Childline is here to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. Your child can talk about anything with trained counsellors.

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