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Identity 'Free to be me!' - Safer Internet Day

Are young people free to be themselves online?

Research finds that being online is both liberating and limiting for children

  • New research from the UK Safer Internet Centre reveals young people’s online experiences are an essential part of who they are offline, with 38% saying it’s easier to be themselves online than offline
  • The internet is creating an informed and inspired generation that is taking action
  • But some feel pressure to shape their online identity for others – 62% are careful about what they share because they’ve seen people be mean
  • Certain groups are being targeted with identity-based hate
  • UKSIC call on people to start conversations with young people about online identity

‘Safer Internet Day: Free to be me – exploring identity online.’
This year in the UK, Safer Internet Day will encourage young people to explore how they manage their online identity, and how the internet shapes how they think of themselves and others. Safer Internet Day 2020 celebrated difference and helps us work towards creating a truly inclusive internet.

The campaign focused on what makes up your online identity – such as the facts or characteristics about you, how others perceive and interact with you, as well as how online services identify you. It also looked at how offline stereotypes and discrimination are challenged or reinforced online.

We will look at whether the internet allows young people to experiment and express themselves, or if they feel limited in who they can be online. By opening up conversations around online identity, we aim to inspire young people to support each other in being who they want to be.

In our whole school assembly we were thinking about the parts of our identity that we share online. We asked pupils to think about their own online identity. Our identities are made up of so many different things. It’s not possible or sensible to share everything about our identity when we are online.

Because of this, we might represent ourselves a little differently when we are online compared to how we do this when we are at home, at school or spending time with family for example. You might have changed your identity online, perhaps without even thinking about it.