- Big pieces of paper
- Permanent markers
- Coloured pens or pencils
Before you begin
- Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
- Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.
Planning this activity
- This activity may be difficult for anyone who has had experience of being or being bullied or harassed. It’s important to be aware of your group’s needs and safeguarding requirements. Make sure you look out for these individuals, always following the Yellow Card, and provide a safe and calm space for them to process their emotions. You may want to speak to young people, along with their parents and carers, first to check that they’re OK to take part.
- Make sure there’s enough copies of the printed ‘Issue’ cards for your group, depending on if you’re working in pairs or small groups.
You may need to remove some scenarios or cards or offer extra reassurance and information. For example, if someone’s experienced a certain type of bullying, or bullying about a specific topic, you may need to warn them in advance and avoid any scenarios that are too similar. Make sure everyone knows they don’t have to share anything about themselves if they don’t want to. It’s OK if people want to keep what they’ve written down or drawn private.
- Have a look at advice from The Scouts ‘Staying Safe online’, BBC Own It and NSPCC online safety
- You may want to have a copy of our online safety tips from Staying safe online to be able to share tips with young people or the people they live with.
Running the activity
- Gather everyone together in a circle. Ask everyone when they last used the internet and what they use it for. Did they use it today? Have they used it to do school or college work, apply for jobs, do some research, play games, chat to friends or order something?
You should regularly check before and during the activity that everyone is comfortable, and make sure everyone knows that they can leave the activity at any point. It might be useful to agree a signal people can use, such as raising their hand, to stop take a break for the activity or if they need to speak to an adult.
- Tell everyone that lots of companies, such as Nominet, are aiming to make the UK a safe place for children and young people to go online.
- Ask everyone if they know of any online safety issues or problems that young people might face.
- Everyone should get into small groups or pairs and give each group a set of the 'Issue cards.'
- Ask everyone to read each issue and think about the problems it could cause. They should write down their thoughts and ideas for each issue on a piece of paper. It’s up to them how they display their answers. They could think about what the biggest or worst thing that could happen is, what could happen if no action is taken, and if there’s are devices or pieces of technology that can help to make the problem worse.
- After five or ten minutes, gather everyone together in a circle and ask for someone from each group, who is happy and comfortable to, to read their ideas to the group. An adult or young leader could also read them out if no one in the group wanted to speak.
- Ask if people noticed any similarities or overlap in each group’s answers. Alternatively, did they notice if there’s any opposing ideas?
- Now, everyone should get back into their groups and each group could be assigned one of the issues to focus on.
- The group should try to think of ideas to help solve their issue and advise people on what to do. They should try to come up with their ‘Top 5’ tips to help and could present their ideas in a creative way, such as a poem, poster, drawing, story or acting it out.
- Gather everyone back together and ask groups to share their top tips. Again, an adult or young leader could also read them out if no one in the group wanted to speak.
This activity was all about finding out more about the benefits and disadvantages of using online platforms, devices and technology. Think about the platforms, technology and devices you use. What do you use the internet or devices for the most often? What do you enjoy or dislike about the devices and platforms you use? What are your favourite and least favourite platforms, apps and devices, and why?
What issues did we learn about, and can you remember any of them? Think about how the issues we’ve discussed tonight might make us feel. For example, online bullying may upset us or hurt us. What else can happen because of the issues? Can they cause bigger problems, worries or upset?
You were asked to come up with solutions to the issues. What did you think of the solutions we came up with? Were any ideas based on what you already knew?
What would you perhaps change? Were some areas more challenging than others? Were there any conflicting opinions or thoughts, such as wanting people to have freedom of speech, but tackling online hate? Did you find ways to balance conflicting ideas?
Now, take time to reflect and think if you’ve ever faced any issues when using the internet and different devices. They may have been one of the issues we mentioned or something different. You don’t need to share these, as they may be personal to you. Think about how what you dealt with made you feel and what you did. Did what you did help to make you feel better or resolve the issue? Would you suggest what you did as a solution to one of these issues, or, if you faced that issue again, would you now do something different after what we’ve discussed tonight?
Does everyone have the same level of knowledge about technology? Think about what your top 5 online safety tips would be to tell a friend.
To make it easier, you could go through the issues as a group. You could also have more resources or tips on how people can tackle these issues, but make sure they’re from reliable sources, such as ChildLine, BBC Own It and NSPCC online safety
To make it harder, allow the young people to answer questions on their own or complete independent research.
It’s important that everyone feels comfortable in this activity, as well as knowing how they can access support and who they can speak to in confidence. They should talk to a trusted adult, a GP, anti-bullying charities or mental health charities and organisations. You may want to have contact details for Childline or the NSPCC, who can help support young people and make reports.
You could have different ways for people to present their ideas, other than writing. Could they use magazines and newspapers to create a collage, draw or act?
Some people may need large print copies of the cards, such as if they have a visual impairment. You could make the cards larger and use light coloured paper, such as white, to make them easier to read.
Remember, not all young people will have the same experience, access or knowledge when it comes to technology. Each person’s grownups may also have different rules around their young person’s use of technology. Make sure to check that everyone understands what everything means and what everything is.
This activity might involve lots of sitting and listening. Make sure to take movement breaks in between the questions and let people sit how they feel most comfortable, including lying down.
Some of these topics may be uncomfortable or triggering for some people, ensure you create an open space for people to stop, pause or ask questions where possible.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.