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This week I joined with more than 1,000 schools, charities, and businesses to pledge support for making the internet a safer place for children and young people.

February 11th was Safer Internet Day, a globally recognised celebration promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

The event, coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC), is celebrated in over a hundred countries.

New research by the UK SIC reveals the internet is a fundamental part of young people’s identity, and that online experiences are an essential part of who they are offline, with 38% saying it’s easier to be themselves online than offline.

But, despite the positives the internet can bring, there are downsides too.

UK SIC found a quarter (25%) of 13-17-year olds say they have been targeted with online hate in the last month because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability or gender identity, with 45% of disabled teens and 32% of BAME teens reporting this.

According to the research 62% of children aged 8 to 17 years old have said they are more careful about what they share online because of people being mean based on who they are.

I welcome the work being done by the UK Safer Internet Centre and called for everyone to do play their part in making sure children and young people are safe online.

Safer Internet Day engages over 1,000 organisations to encourage them to have a conversation about their online safety.

The UK Safer Internet Centre provides support and advice to children, parents and professionals working with children all year round. It is essential that policy makers are aware of the challenges that children face online

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