July 28, 2023

Young people taught to be cyber savvy to protect themselves online

Young people are being taught how to keep themselves safe online, to protect themselves from hackers and learn vital cyber skills with the help Cheshire based charity, Youth Fed.

Digital learning centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury

Young people are being taught how to keep themselves safe online, to protect themselves from hackers and learn vital cyber skills with the help of a charity in Cheshire. From fake news to bias, cyberbullying and sexting, to echo chambers and identifying hate speech, the dedicated sessions are designed to improve mental health and online experiences while also preparing the younger generation for a workplace that will be dominated by digital working practices.

Dedicated Digital learning centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury

The courses are part of an award-winning initiative run by Cheshire based charity Youth Fed at a dedicated Digital learning centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury. A youth charity supporting young people aged between 10 and 29, Youth Fed works to help improve skills through services, training and within school based activities. Since it was established, 1274 individuals have benefited from the sessions with 11 schools taking part.

Free sessions cover cyber security and online safety and more

The courses are delivered to school pupils in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington. The free sessions cover cyber security and online safety, as well as mental health wellbeing support. In sessions that last from one hour to a half day or full day, both delivered in the specially designed digital lab, the courses are designed to help young people be safer online.

Specific focus on social media

With a specific focus on social media, the young people are taught about the importance of cyber security including digital fingerprints, privacy and identity theft, and their online reputation. They also learn about malware, hacking and cyber attacks, as well as phishing. In terms of their own personal cyber safety, the course also examines sexting, grooming, bullying and trolling.

They also explore how people might behave online, with risks like emotional manipulation, polarising and scapegoating, and understanding the distinction between free speech and hate speech.

partnership with Sci-Tech Daresbury

The young people are then taught about digital self care, how to protect themselves from threats and feel more confident online.

Youth Fed’s digital learning centre is delivered in partnership with Sci-Tech Daresbury in the Liverpool City Region, host to a thriving digital tech cluster for the north west.  It is also home to STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory and its Hartree Centre, with some of the UK’s most advanced technologies in Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing technology.  Additional funding has been provided by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership as well as the Philip Barker Charity.

the digital ambassadors of tomorrow

Chris Hindley OBE is CEO at Youth Fed said:

While the average time spent daily on social media is 2.5 hours, in teens it rises to over 7 hours. Social media is not just a place to meet friends but a digital gateway to the world. For many young people it is their first experience of a digital landscape and the online world. While it is a fun, creative and inspiring place most of the time, like the physical world it is important to know the risks and how to protect yourselves.

To get the best out of the digital world, it is vital that our young people know how to navigate it and protect themselves. We cannot forget that the majority of jobs will be focused on digital activity, so cyber safety and security will be critical workplace skills for our younger generations, and will help them to become the digital ambassadors of tomorrow.

Engaging and productive

Ian Musgrove is Careers Coordinator at Penketh High School said:

We really enjoyed the cyber security day with Youth Fed. The session was engaging and productive, this gave the students in our computing careers cluster a valuable insight into working in this industry. It was also really important for our students to visit Sci-Tech at Daresbury to see potential local workplace opportunities in the future first hand

the digital ambassadors of tomorrow

Katharine Robertson, Head of Campus Development, STFC Daresbury Laboratory said:

There has never been a more vital time to develop the digital skills of our next generations. Digital skills are not only essential for their own safety and wellbeing, but are also an important ingredient for improving job prospects and are essential to the future of our economy. Daresbury is home to some of the UK’s most talented digital experts and advanced digital facilities, as well as to some of the UK’s most pioneering digital tech start-up companies, therefore we couldn’t be more excited to be working with Youth Fed to support this important and worthwhile programme.

For schools who want to sign up for the courses they can fill in the form here https://youthfed.org.uk/contact-us/