Posted: 29 January 2018

Supporting and safeguarding through digital skills

We are continuing our Digital Reach pilot with Nominet Trust in Birmingham and Coventry, engaging young people in digital outreach services. Part of our service centres around enabling young refugees and migrants to access online activities and develop their digital skills. And the other important part of our work involves preventing digital disadvantage across all young people by educating them about the dangers of using the internet and social networking sites.

Refugee and Migrant Support

We are working with refugee and migrant youth clubs to increase participation by improving the service users’ digital skills. Because these young people have had limited or no education regarding the use of digital tech their knowledge is poor which consequently leads to a lack of confidence.

To address this, we have been providing sessions to teach the young refugees and migrants basic IT skills, how to do simple internet searches and how to find their way around a computer. Other young people are practising their use of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher; creating work based on topics that interest them as individuals.

One young person who attends the sessions has said he loves computer club because he is able to improve his IT skills and practice his English whilst being able to meet friends. This shows that not only is this programme leading to an improvement in IT skills and confidence, but it is also helping service users to develop their ability to communicate in English. Additionally, these young people get the opportunity to meet others with similar needs and can also receive the support of trained youth workers and mental health practitioners to promote their wellbeing.

Alongside running computer classes for young people to access, we are also offering one-to-one support for individuals who wish to develop specific digital skills or need strategies to help them improve their general learning at school or college. Young people can access this service though drop-in sessions at their local youth club or through booking a one-to-one session with a practitioner.

School Intervention

In schools, we are now running workshops to equip students with the skills to navigate the internet and social media sites without becoming a victim of online abuse or suffering mental health issues due to low self-esteem. These scenarios can cause future digital disadvantage to the young people affected. Online safety workshops give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the consequences of sharing their personal information online and teach them how to establish privacy settings to keep themselves safe from situations such as online grooming.

What Next?

Positive results so far mean that we will continue to deliver our digital outreach provision and develop our services in response to the needs of young people as they arise.   

To find out more about our pilot follow @childrensociety and #DigitalReach on Twitter. 

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