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Gedling MP Vernon Coaker joins pupils at Carlton Academy for Google event which aims to make youngsters better ‘digital citizens’


Gedling MP Vernon Coaker visited a school in Carlton taking part in a pioneering Google scheme to help pupils become good digital citizens.

The event at Carlton Academy was hosted by the internet search giant and aimed to teach 13 to 15-year-olds about online safety, being aware of fake news and emotional manipulation online.

Google are using these events to highlight their Be Internet Citizens programme.

As well as improving online behaviour, the programme also helps young people to use platforms like YouTube to share their stories and create great content.

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Be Internet Citizens consists of five key stages, which students in Carlton Academy were taught today:

1. Three sides to Every Story – Participants will be able to develop a good understanding of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, as well as becoming more confident in forming their own opinions in online contexts.

2. Emotional Manipulation – This stage presents video examples of emotional manipulation, prompting a discussion around what emotions these videos stimulate. It seeks to develop an increased critical awareness of the use of emotional manipulation.

3. Us vs Them – Enables participants to understand how powerful ‘us vs them’ divisions can be, encouraging them to think of where they have seen this rhetoric used before online. Participants will understand how divisive arguments can lead to problems in society, as well as be wary of the consequences of labelling individuals and also understand how certain online social environments can shape opinions.

4. Haters Gonna Hate – Designed to help participants understand what acceptable and unacceptable online behaviour is, and how to distinguish between hate speech and free speech. In addition, it explores how to react to hateful content online, including the use of various online tools such as reporting, flagging and blocking.

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5. Creators For Change – a creative video exercise that allows participants to showcase their learning across the previous four lessons, and offers them the opportunity to get creative through using video equipment.

Mr Coaker praised the new Google initiative.

He said: “I am delighted that the Be Internet Citizens programme visited Carlton Academy today as the issue of digital citizenship is now extremely important to young people.

“Programmes which educate and encourage positive participation in the online world are very welcome, especially as more and more young people use online platforms on a daily basis.”

Elijah Lawal, online safety communications manager at Google, said: “The internet is a creative space where young people can have a voice, be imaginative, and express themselves.

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“With Be Internet Citizens, we want to help young people with their media literacy and encourage them to use their voices and creativity to have a positive impact online.”

Be Internet Citizens is delivered in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and its teaching resources are approved by the PSHEAssociation.

Educators can also order free teaching resources for the Be Internet Citizens here (through the ISD website). These resources are accredited by PSHE.

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