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In the news - Share Take Care

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Hajar Javaheri Hajar Javaheri | 10:50 UK time, Thursday, 9 February 2012

In the news this week it's all about internet safety, with Tuesday's Safer Internet Day focusing on connecting generations to build a safer web environment.

Working in partnership with the Safer Internet Day campaign and the UK Safer Internet Centre – the BBC launched Share Take Care, its campaign to raise awareness of the issues around safety and safeguarding reputation online.

To do their part, BBC WebWise has been giving readers a chance to "ask the experts" on everything from filtering content to the impact a teenager's e-reputation could have on their future. There are also tips on keeping your child safe online and Nathalie Emmanuel takes a look at the reality of the web for young people in a documentary for BBC Three.

Panorama this week also took a closer look at cyberbullying, speaking to former X Factor contestant Cher Lloyd about her struggle to deal with online abuse. The singer revealed she was unprepared for the negative online attention she received following her television appearances.


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Lloyd's poignant words on the fear, pain and anguish cyberbullying can cause are a well-needed reminder that online harassment isn't something we should be teaching victims to just shrug off and live with. The internet is integrated into real life and perhaps the attitude that it's a place where we should have free licence to express a cruel alter-ego needs challenging.

It's easy to say that the solution to online abuse is simply to close a browser window or not go to a forum, but the internet is so much a part of our lives that such advice can be like telling someone to leave school or quit their job if they're being bullied, rather than speak to a teacher or employer. It's an issue that needs to be addressed from both sides, as many people who are cyber bullies aren't aware of the distress they cause, nor of the legal ramifications of some of their comments and messages.

Although the teen star said she accepted friend requests from all who added her at the start of her career, there is a lot to be positive about when it comes to how web savvy young people are. In a survey commissioned by the BBC, 85% of 13-19 year-olds said they would be unlikely to accept a friend request from someone they didn't know at all.

For many parents, there's a fear that the web and social media have left them powerless to protect their children's privacy and reputation, but as Safer Internet Day's theme suggests, connecting the generations will help foster a safer web experience, where parents learn more about youth web culture and the resources available to them. Why not start by checking out Share Take Care?

The Parents' Guide to Facebook on BBC WebWise offers insight into the social network for parents wanting to learn more about how their children connect over the internet, or read the WebWise guide on what to do if you or someone you know is being bullied online.

Hajar is a regular contributor to the WebWise blog and has also made award-winning programmes for BBC Radio. In her spare time she loves reading, writing and singing.


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