The Cyber projects helping everyone to stay safe online

The internet is great. We love it. I mean, where would we be without online shopping, Facebook friends and daily memes? A whopping 3.7 billion people across the globe are now connected to the internet, and that increases by thousands each week. But along with all the wonderful things the web brings, come issues with staying safe online. Worryingly, research has found that 70% of internet users feel comfortable giving away personal information on the net, including their home address, and two-thirds use the same passwords for most or all websites. Scary, right?

This is why we launched a new series of Cyber projects at the end of 2016, which invited you guys to apply for funding for your own online safety projects focused on tackling cyber-bullying. Applications came flying in from across the UK, and five lucky people got £500 to kick start their idea. In the build up to Safer Internet Day 2017, we caught up with a few of the new project leaders to find out a bit more about their ideas.

Mason Robinson, 17, from Northern Ireland, is creating an app called Pocket Pal which will help those being bullied at school.

“Last year, more than 16,000 young people in England were absent from school due to bullying. That’s a staggering number. Bullying is something which affects a lot of people, and no parent wants their child facing this alone. I believe that I have a solution for this: Pocket Pal. Yes, the pal that lives in your pocket! The app will allow bullying victims to log onto their own private account. The account will include a live chat platform with teachers and school counsellors, meaning that if a student is being bullied then they can simply login and live chat with a suitable member of staff who can deal with the situation. This app will also give the victim top tips and methods for how to deal with bullying.”

Mason hopes the app will reduce the number of children and teenagers being bullied at school.

Meanwhile, Henry, who is based in Scotland, is busy producing a series of smart videos for his YouTube Channel, which will provide information and advice to help young people who are being bullied. He will be using TouchCast to make the videos interactive, which will enable viewers to access links, images and other useful resources.

And Catt’s project takes a different angle altogether. She is putting together a series of drama workshops for young people in Manchester who are experiencing cyber-bullying.

“We are determined to help young people who feel isolated as a result of cyber-bullying, and want to help those with mental health issues feel confident enough to come forward and discuss their experiences. Our project aims to raise awareness of this issue and help sufferers to develop helpful skills which will support them.”

Catt will be working with a local mental health charity to deliver the workshops to vulnerable communities.

Feeling inspired? We are! Do you want £500 from O2's Think Big to run your own Online Safety project? Of course you do! We’re looking for ideas which can bring parents, carers and their kids together to share their online experiences, and start an ongoing conversation about online safety. Head over to Go Think Big to find out how you can get funding for your idea.

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