The Fight for Online Safety

In rewarning zonecent years, the internet has become an integral part of our lives rising from the variety of social networks that young people are party too, including such social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more. For young many young people life without social media is unthinkable.

Warning Zone is charity that first launched on the 17th October 2006. It is a charity that aims to prepare the younger generation for increased independence and transition into the early years of adolescence. Young people are subject to a variety of different experiences and at Warning Zone, the team aim to foster an understanding of risk, explore the consequences of actions, deliver meaningful information about peer pressure and explain about personal responsibility.

Warning Zone in their own words stress the following ‘It is not wrapping children in cotton wool, rather presenting the plain and honest facts in a memorable and understandable way in order to encourage responsible behaviour and sound decision making while living full and active lives.’

Warning Zone will open an exciting new Internet learning zone this year. With social media forever expanding and new websites being introduced, young people are exposed to a whole new world which whilst offering exciting opportunities may also jeopardise their safety online.

One of the main problems online is ‘Cyberbullying.’ We are hearing more and more about this in the news as the advances in technology have changed the way that children can be bullied. There are many different types of cyberbullying but all of them are damaging and distressing for the young person experiencing it.

It may be tempting for a parent to ban a child from using the internet but the reality is that it offers huge opportunities as well as risks. Almost daily reports inform us of examples of online abuse and in the most extreme cases end in tragedy with the suicide of a child.

Amanda Todd who took her own life after being blackmailed and bullied online. Amanda began using video chat to meet new people online, one stranger convinced her to bare her breasts online, the stranger attempted to use the photo to blackmail Amanda resulting in the photo circulating on the internet, via facebook. Her mum reports that this stranger began stalking Amanda which ultimately led to her taking her own life. Amanda is far from the only young person to take her life after being the victim of online bullying. There are cases in this country and abroad and involving both girls and boys.

Figures found by BeatBullying show that ‘One in three 11-18 years olds in the UK have been the victim of cyberbullying, with teenage girls up to four times more likely to be victims than boys.’

Warning Zone want to beat bullying in the same way many people do and through their hard work and determination to help these young people; they aim to make the community a safer place to grow up in. In educating children about staying safe online and anti-social behaviour will hopefully help to decrease the amount of children that find themselves in trouble, whether it be with the authorities or school.

Helen Johnson the founding partner of Emery Johnson Astills is a trustee of Warning Zone after becoming aware of their work through her association with Leicestershire Law Society.

Emery Johnson Astills Solicitors has offices in Leicester, Loughborough and Coalville.