February 5th is Safer Internet Day and it’s a good opportunity to reflect on how we’re supporting customers to create safe online experiences for their families. As part of our on-going contribution to life in the UK and Ireland, we want to make sure that all of our customers have access to the tools and information they need to in order to use our products safely.
This is something that has always been important to us and we led the way some years ago with our parental PIN controls for Sky TV customers, to give parents control over what content could be accessed in their homes. Now, like all the major Internet Service Providers, we offer parental controls to our Sky Broadband customers free for as long as they want them.
But we’ve also taken additional steps to help protect children, like applying default blocking of inappropriate adult content on our public Wi-Fi network (The Cloud), because we know that parents are worried about what their children can access when they’re not at home. But the most exciting initiative to me is the work that we’re doing directly with young people to discuss and inspire safer internet use.
Watch our video below to see how we’re offering school groups (aged 8-18) the opportunity to come to our specially designed Sky Skills Studios and engage with issues of cyberbullying and online safety through a free learning experience that’s linked to the curriculum. As reporters, experts or eye-witnesses, we’ve seen these young people use their unique perspectives to create their own Sky News reports using the internet in a safe and secure way. They can also share their reports with their friends and families which can be a powerful way to make the learning last.
Since we opened the doors to Sky Skills Studios in September 2012, the social networking and cyberbullying module has been our most popular amongst visiting schools with 830 young people completing it to date. I’ve been inspired by how much these young people have grown their understanding of keeping themselves safe in a digital age through the Sky Skills Studios experience. I encourage any school group that has not attended to book themselves in by visiting www.sky.com/skills.
As well we’re going even further, developing a new parental controls ‘whole-home’ solution for launch later in 2013. In many homes it’s very normal now for the internet to be accessed by a wide range of devices like televisions, gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones so our new product will provide protection for all connected devices in the home.
On the 10th anniversary of Safer Internet Day I am very happy to say that we a doing more than ever to support and inspire safe and positive internet use. To find out more, visit sky.com/security.
Eamonn Holmes: Hello there, I’m Eamonn Holmes reporting for Sky News. A special report for today’s breaking news; for that we go straight to the Sky Skills Studio at Osterley.
Reporter 1: Thank you Eamonn. We have just received an exclusive report focusing on social networking and the issue of cyber bullying.
Reporter 2: Social networking hits the news today and some children are having problems with this.
Voice Over: This short film discusses how Sky is supporting young people to learn about cyber bullying and how to use the internet and social networking tools confidently and safely. Mixing content created by young people in the Sky Skills Studios with insight from parents and experts, we’ll explore how interactive learning inspires positive internet use.
Person 3: What are we doing our report on?
Group: Cyber bullying
Person 3: Cyber bullying, exactly
Voice Over: The Sky Skills Studios experience aims to raise aspirations of 12,000 young people a year through free and fun learning that links to the curriculum and builds life skills.
Teachers select from five subject areas; maths, science, English, sport, and citizenship, and then chose one of 16 topics. So far, a module focussing on social networking and cyber bullying is proving one of the most popular amongst schools visiting the Studios.
Juliette Heppell: It’s learning by doing. So they’re having fun, they’re making a report, they’re interacting with one another but they’re also learning facts and figures and information about cyber bullying too.
Person 4: Three, two, one…
Voice Over: Students explore the topic using educational resources designed to meet curriculum objectives and produce their own news report in studios created specifically for young people aged 8 – 18.
Person 5: I don’t understand why I’ve been bullied.
Voice Over: Through producing their own TV report on this issue, Sky helps students to learn about cyber bullying, and build the knowledge they need to make the most of social networking and the internet in a responsible and secure way.
Person 6: Excellent. Go again?
Person 6: Great
Person 7: This is James. He has recently been cyber-bullied – is that right?
Person 8: Yes, correct.
Voice Over: What’s more, they can share their reports with their peers, friends and families, providing practical and engaging information about some of the risks, as well as guidance on safe internet use.
Juliette Heppell: Looking at the Sky Skills Studio, that kind of a workshop is extremely valuable. It generates that open conversation, but it also gives students a reality check.
Kudzai: If someone is being bullied within a school, the bully has to wait for a time when you’re by yourself – but on the internet, you could be bullying someone if you have your phone on you. It just makes it so much quicker for the bully to have access to the person that they’re targeting.
Vasu: I use social networking sites every day pretty much. Nowadays, it’s how we live.
Vickie Mansell: When my daughter accesses chat-rooms or Twitter, or Facebook, or any social networks, I’m quite concerned that she’s actually speaking to people that she doesn’t know personally.
Josh: My parents try to moderate the amount of time I’m on the internet. They ask me what I’ve been doing and if I’ve been on there too long, to get off – occasionally (laughs).
Juliette Heppell: So it’s not just about teaching them that the internet is a dangerous place, but it’s about teaching them that it’s not safe if you use it in an incorrect way and how you can use it correctly and positively.
Reporter 2: Let’s go live to our expert on cyber bullying.
What has recent research revealed about cyber bullying?
Will Gardner: Well research tells us that cyber bullying is a part of many young peoples lives. We’ve got different research coming in and it’s a difficult area to research but the figures range from about 8% of young people saying they’ve been on the receiving end of cyber bullying, up to as much as 30%
Reporter 2: What technical solutions exist and how are they affecting children in this sort of thing?
Will Gardner: There are some online tools available which can help – such as reporting buttons where you can report to service providers to get content taken down and block buttons. So it’s important that people can recognise that there are things online that can help but in terms of downloading a bit of software for the problem to be going away, I think that’s a little bit far-fetched.
Reporter 2: What roles can schools and internet service providers like Sky – what can they do to help prevent this?
Will Gardner: Sky definitely has a role and industry in general has a role. It’s really important that people are equipped and empowered to use particular services safely. It’s a great opportunity to try and communicate to users and to customers about safe and responsible use.
Reporter 2: Thank you
Reporter 1: Back to you in the studio Eamonn.
Eamonn Holmes: Thank you Sky Skills Studio – and that is the end of this breaking news. I’m Eamonn Holmes, thank you for watching.