On Friday 21 October ASKfm, the Q&A social network used by millions of young people worldwide, kicked-off its interactive roadshow for 2016 at Epsom College, Surrey in partnership with The Diana Award – the youth charity committed to empowering thousands of young people in the UK and Ireland to tackle issues that affect other young people using a well-tested peer-led approach.
As part of the Epsom College PSD Awareness Days there are lectures on key topics which encourage pupils and staff to engage in conversations on a wide array of themes such as mental health, eating disorders, staying safe on line, international mens’ & womens’ days, anti-racism and this one anti-bullying. This theme aims to remind all to promote positive behaviour around the campus and in the future in the world of work. Epsom College trains peer mentors in the Lower Sixth form as part of the Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme that this charity runs. Currently we have 40 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who help educate their peers on bullying, lead on anti-bullying campaigns, promote a culture which celebrates and tolerates difference and help keep their peers safe both online and offline.
The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign has teamed up with Vodafone to create Be Strong Online, a new programme to help students explore the digital world. The brand new resources will cover everything from cyberbullying, gaming and selfies to privacy, apps and social networking. Be Strong Online uses a peer-to-peer approach to empower students and enable them to share knowledge about the digital world with younger students.
The first module in Be Strong Online covers cyberbullying: what it means to be emotionally resilient, supporting friends who may be being cyberbullied, and what it means to be an 'upstander' to bullying. This short, introductory module provides the opportunity for older students to raise awareness of the issue of cyberbullying to younger students, signpost sources of support, and encourage positive online behaviour.
Helen Keevil, Director of Welfare at Epsom College said “it gave our students the tools they need to stay safe online. Accompanying the visit were a range of videos and activities designed to get students, parents and teachers involved and encourage them to carry on the message”.
Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive of the Diana Award says “At the Diana Award, we are committed to giving young people the responsibility of the wellbeing of their peers and this partnership will allow us to explore with young people the social etiquettes around online behaviour and anonymity. This trendsetting piece of work will provide a footprint for hundreds of thousands of young people across the world and we are delighted to be leading the way with ASKfm.”
“The Diana Award has a credible voice with young people. Our partnership takes ASKfm’s safety efforts a further step forward to work in depth with young people, schools, parents and law enforcement. We hope that the programme provides the necessary insights and tools for effectively communicating with young people. It is developed to inspire young people towards informed and responsible online behaviour and to build their confidence and resilience online,” said ASKfm’s Director Laura Archbold.
The partnership will be supported by other local organisations across the UK and Ireland and resources for students, teachers and parents are available on: http://askfm.antibullyingpro.com/