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Ecorys presents findings on Resilience for the Digital World at the Safeguarding Children Board

| Social Policy

Ecorys spoke to delegates at the Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Board last week on Resilience for the Digital World, delivering findings from our research carried out for Young Minds.

The research highlights the importance of building young people’s resilience in handling their ‘life online’, of upskilling adults, facilitating open conversations and including young people in generating solutions. These factors all chime with the conference’s general theme of safeguarding children and young people when they engage online and raised some constructive suggestions to consider.

Young Minds have produced a positioning paper from the work Ecorys carried out, which was a scoping review of the available literature that aimed to inform the development of effective online resources.

World Mental Health Day last week highlighted the challenges for young people around mental health and online or digital activities. The charity is encouraging schools to develop a heightened focus on wellbeing with their #WiseUpWellbeing campaign. Social media is often cited to be a source of significant anxiety for young people, but our research found that young people themselves rate the social benefits of the internet over any other use.

“Our research on building resilience recommended that developing digital skills for young people should extend to a focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of those young people,” said the head of children and families research Laurie Day. “While some online activities carry risks, this is not the same as all online behaviour being risky. There is no evidence of a causal link between online usage and mental health problems, although the risks to personal safety do increase with time spent online.”

In addition, Ecorys researcher Kate Merriam pointed to the wide variety in the digital skills of young people uncovered by the study, and the dangers of social inequalities arising when the positive benefits from online access are more accessible to children that are also relatively privileged in other ways.

The full report is available here