Be Internet Citizens goes big
A fresh way to deliver media literacy to young people in communities at scale
This incredible piece of poetry was created by Camden students during a new multi-school media literacy workshop in July.
Spoken word, t-shirt designs, posters and performance art were also used by attendees, aged 13-15, to address the challenges of navigating the positive and less positive aspects of life online.
Or, as one student said, "how to throw rainbows, not shade".
Learning to think critically
In an age when AI can generate hyper-realistic images with a few simple prompts, and when schools urgently address the negative influence of figures like Andrew Tate, media literacy education has rarely mattered more.
The Be Internet Citizens programme from YouTube helps students interpret and challenge what they experience online. Alongside a school curriculum, the programme has visited secondary schools across the UK.
This new pilot event, produced and delivered by Parent Zone, aims to explore the most relevant topics from the programme in communities and areas that are most in need.
Developing critical thinking skills
Camden was the location for the launch even, at the Wellcome Collection in Euston. The scaled-up model bought multiple schools from the borough together across morning and afternoon sessions.
Classes joined a quiz assembly, followed by breakout groups led by a team of 12 facilitators.
Attending teachers were also guided through the curriculum in a workshop, exploring the free resources that can support PSHE and computing education.
One teacher told us: "I know how difficult it is to get students to engage and show interest. The facilitators engaged well with the students and made them feel comfortable enough to be open and discuss freely without judgement. Crucially it was clear to see that the students had developed key critical thinking skills and will be equipped to use these when confronted with for example misinformation or biassed writing."
Understanding risks, celebrating benefits
Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, joined the afternoon session, alongside local councilors. He paid tribute to the energy of the students and the ways they address the challenging topics.
He said: "It's so important that you express yourself. There's a plaque in the Commons, which says 'we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us'. That's why it's really important that we don't just understand the risks on the internet, but we celebrate the benefits, what brings us together."
The next Be Internet Citizens event is scheduled to visit Manchester in October. If you are a secondary school in Manchester, you can find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Be Internet Citizens resources
Click on this link to download ready-made lesson presentations and a complete unit of work.