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13 July 2018
By Rebecca Avery

LGfL publish 'Hopes & Streams' Survey

London Grid for Learning (LGfL) DigiSafe have published the findings of their survey which took place during February 2018; 'Hopes & Streams'. Almost 40,000 children and young people from aged between 7 and 16 responded from 480 schools and settings across the county. 54% were from primary schools, and 46% from secondary schools, with 52% girls and 48% boys.

The survey covered a wide range of issues and asked children about making friends online, video chats and livestreaming, the best and worst things that happen online, experiences on apps, games and sites and who children talk to, who they trust and if it helps.

Key findings:

Six of the many interesting statistics from this report

  • One in eight said they had video chatted with someone they had not met in person.
    • One in 10 of those said they had been asked to "change or take off clothes" during that chat.
  • Primary aged pupils were just as likely to report being asked to undress as those in secondary schools.
  • Boys are twice as likely as girls to meet up with someone in the real world who they have met online and are more likely to see violent images or videos.
  • Half of those who chat to people they meet on games go on to talk to them on other platforms.
  • 81% told someone or took someone with them, when they went to meet someone for the first time.
  • 61% confessed they had never spoken to anyone about their worst experiences on the internet. Those who did were more likely to speak to family or friends than call a helpline.

The things children said they loved:

  • Having fun
  • The sense of community
  • Making friends
  • Playing games
  • Giving and receiving support
  • Videos and photos
  • Keeping in touch

The upsetting things they face:

  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Hate speech, bullying and fighting
  • Violent and obscene videos
  • Animals being hurt
  • Pornography
  • Sexual approaches from adults
  • Being asked for nudes

Six of the many interesting pupil quotes from this report

The research links to supporting curriculum resources throughout and concludes with a series of recommendations for schools, as well as Government and industry.

Te DigiSafe team have published helpful suggestions for schools and will be providing more in depth advice throughout the coming months on their blog.

Suggestions for schools included:

  • Use the quotes and statistics as discussion starters in class and in staff inset.
  • Investigate the role of peer programmes for pupils to support each other – ‘telling a friend’ was the second favourite option for talking about the worst things that happen online.
  • Talk to children and parents abouts being coerced to change clothes on camera – the report identified that this affects young children.
  • Focus on behaviours rather than  ‘bad apps’ – offenders and risks occur across all apps and games; scare stories lead to a false sense of security
  • Discuss latest screen time concerns with parents and share sensible advice on balancing activities rather than limiting time and address technology 'addiction' with pupils. Ask them what they think about the nearly 1 in 3 children who admitted finding it hard to stop using devices to have a break.
  • Refresh teacher, parent and pupil awareness of helplines for advice and support.
  • Make sure the youngest pupils know they should talk to a trusted adult about anything that gives them ‘a funny feeling inside’.
  • Provide staff updates and refreshers on key documents such as Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 and the UKCCIS Sexting Guidance.
  • View and share materials on understanding the motives for self-harm in the mental health section, considering how to talk about the issues without ‘giving ideas'.