Cyber resilience should be taught in schools, says charity

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Young people need to be taught cyber resilience in schools because they do not feel equipped to navigate the online world, a charity has warned.

The Diana Award, who commissioned research to mark #StandUpToBullying day, found that 83% of children aged 10 to 16 wanted cyber lessons as part of their timetable.

Over two fifths (43%) of children worry about being bullied on social media and 30% worry about the validity of stories they read online and fake news, the YouGov poll found.

Around 44% are concerned about one of their online accounts or identities being hacked. 

Of those youngsters questioned, 71% used YouTube, 52% Instagram, 51% Snapchat and 49% Facebook.

Some 79% of UK parents, with children aged 18 and under, want lessons on digital resilience to be compulsory as part of the national curriculum, and more than a quarter (28%) are not confident they can protect their children from potential dangers online.

Tessy Ojo, chief executive officer of the Diana Award, said: "We all have a part to play from workplaces, government, celebrities, schools to the internet - the research is clear that generations do not feel equipped to navigate their online world.

"We're calling on every school to teach young people about digital resilience and help young people to deal with issues they face online and give them the tools to bounce back.

"Not only will this protect a generation of vulnerable young people, it will also shift attitudes and change behaviours."

The Diana Award is working in partnership with Vodafone to create the Be Strong Online programme, which helps students and staff improve their digital skills, covering topics such as cyberbullying, gaming, selfies, privacy and social networking.

Wednesday's #StandUpToBullying day urges the nation to speak out against bullying in the home, workplace, school, sports and all parts of society.

The charity was set up in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales - mother to the Duke of Cambridge - who celebrates his 35th birthday on Wednesday - and Prince Harry.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "The internet has given children and young people wider opportunities to increase their knowledge, but protecting them from risks they might face online is vital.

"Cyber bullying and staying safe online are key parts of relationships and sex education, which we are making mandatory.

"We are also working with the education sector to make sure that content is high-quality, age-appropriate and relates to the modern world.

"In addition, we are working with schools and parents to support young people, boost their confidence and tackle bullying by investing £4.4 million in funding for anti-bullying projects."