10 Downing St launches The Diana Award’s anti-bullying campaign with Rio Ferdinand to stamp out cyberbullying

Backed by the government and former England footballer Rio Ferdinand, youth charity The Diana Award today announces its annual anti-bullying campaign Don’t Face It Alone, to raise awareness of the impact bullying has on young people and encourage them to speak out. The charity’s new research[1] reveals that parents feel powerless (57%) when it comes to protecting their children online, despite almost half (49%) believing they know their child has been a victim of cyberbullying.

While the nation locked down and schools closed during the pandemic, bullying among schoolchildren continued online and the charity’s research reveals that parents lack the ability to keep their children safe, as a third (33%) admit they are not tech savvy enough to know how to protect their child online. 55% of parents say they find it hard to keep up with all the online channels their child uses, whereas locked phones and passwords are preventing 47% of parents from accessing their children’s devices.

These statistics are released as part of the Diana Award’s annual Don’t Face it Alone anti-bullying campaign. Backed by the government, this nationwide campaign sets out to help parents, guardians, schools, teachers, and children counter the latest forms of bullying culture, and provides free educational resources to help and empower them. By raising awareness and encouraging people to speak out, Don’t Face it Alone aims to stamp out all forms of bullying for good.

The study, which surveyed 1,400 children between 6 – 18, explored the different ways children are bullied online, the use of apps amongst young people, how well they are protected online and a parent’s role in their protection. Despite their worry, the majority (67%) of parents feel confident their child would tell them if they were experiencing abuse online. Concerningly, though, 58%  of the children polled said they wouldn’t tell their parents if someone tried to bully them online. Furthermore, almost half of children (45%) are unsure their parents would even be able to help them in this instance anyway.

The research also raised anxieties that parents are part of the problem. Over half (54%) admitted to sharing something online which could be construed as bullying or offensive, that their child could easily see. Of these, 60% stated they were worried their child might take something they’ve personally written or shared online and repeat it to another child.

The campaign continues to unite a multitude of charitable organisations and tech companies with schools to help tackle online bullying and increase support and security for young people. This year’s organisations and social media platforms supporting the charity’s initiative include Google, TikTok, Instagram, Yubo, Twitter, Reddit, Super Awesome, Snapchat, Nominet and Sky Kids. Support from these platforms is crucial in ensuring the safety of children online, as 32% are likely to contact website moderators or someone in charge of a game if they were exposed to online trolls, and as the majority believe reporting of online bullying is taken seriously by these platforms (only 15% disagreed).

Following the success of last year’s event, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, The Diana Award was back at Number 10 on Monday with charity supporters Rio Ferdinand and Dr Alex George and as the UK’s Online Safety Bill[2] currently goes through parliament.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says: “I’m incredibly grateful to Rio Ferdinand and the Diana Award team for their leadership and campaigning on this important issue. Bullying in any form is completely unacceptable and it can have a devastating, lifelong impact on young people.

“The more we do to encourage everyone to speak up against it, the easier it will be to stamp bullying out once and for all.”

Supporter of The Diana Award and Founder of The Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Rio Ferdinand says: “As a kid I experienced racial abuse at football. Thankfully, my family and my coach knew how to deal with the situation properly, but it didn’t stop those words from hurting. Now that I have children myself, I don’t want to see them being bullied or see them bullying anyone. It’s crucial people can speak out and get support to tackle bullying.  That’s why I am encouraging schools, parents and children to engage with The Diana Award and the Don’t Face It Alone campaign to get the resources they need to help stamp out bullying.”

Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award, says: “The online element of modern life can make bullying behaviour far more complex. When many of today’s parents were young, bullying behaviour – while awful – was something that happened outside or at school. Now, the safe-space that was home is also increasingly under threat in today’s always-connected world, especially where lockdowns and school closures have encouraged bullying to seep more and more into life online”.

“Our results show that dealing with bullying behaviour can be overwhelming for parents, but it’s important for them to understand their role in their child’s safety without letting things get brushed under the carpet. We encourage communication to not just rely on the child being open but flow both ways, with honest dialogue about acceptable forms of communication, both in real life and online. If you don’t know where to start, schools, parents and children can sign up to our Don’t Face it Alone campaign to get free anti-bullying resources, help and support, for all types of bullying behaviour. We’re here to help stamp it out”.

To date, over 40,000 young people have been trained as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in nearly 5,000 schools throughout the UK and Ireland by The Diana Award. This network of young people develop and share best practices and have been trained to provide ongoing peer support to their cohort. The programme, which has backing from England’s Department for Education, Facebook, Instagram and Nationwide Building Society has received hundreds of positive endorsements in Ofsted school inspection reports reducing bullying and increasing safety and wellbeing.

The Diana Award offers their Anti-Bullying Ambassador training free of charge to schools across the UK. To sign up for training, advice and support visit antibullyingpro.com and follow The Diana Award social channels:

More information and free resources can be downloaded at www.dontfaceitalone.com.

Rio Ferdinand at 10 Downing Street meeting the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, to celebrate the launch of The Diana Award’s annual anti-bullying campaign, Don’t Face It Alone, and encourage young people to #SpeakOutAboutBullying

Social media:

Twitter: @AntiBullyingPro @DianaAward #SpeakOutAboutBullying

Instagram: @dianaaward @antibullyingpro

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www.dontfaceitalone.com www.diana-award.org.uk