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Gavin Newlands MP welcomes launch of digital safety ambassadors

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, attended a reception in Parliament with Facebook and youth charities, Childnet International and The Diana Award to welcome the roll-out of a major programme which will offer every UK secondary school dedicated digital safety ambassadors. These youth ambassadors will provide peer-to-peer support and online safety initiatives in secondary schools.

Gavin Newlands MP met Digital Leaders from Childnet International and Anti-Bullying Ambassadors from The Diana Award who him about their efforts to eliminate bullying and promote digital citizenship online and offline.

The Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North – who previously led a debate in parliament on the impact that bullying has on young people - also met with representatives of Facebook about the steps they are taking to keep young people safe online and this new commitment which could see tens of thousands of pupils in schools across the UK trained as Digital Leaders or Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands MP, said:

“Too many young people are afraid to go to school every morning due to the bullying behaviour of others. Unfortunately, with the rise of social media, that torment can sadly be extended beyond the school gates and into the safety of the home.

“We need to do more to tackle bullying behaviour and that also includes making social media a safe place for all children.

“It’s absolutely vital that students in Renfrewshire have the tools to stay safe and to tackle bullying behaviour. I welcome Facebook’s commitment to provide digital ambassadors and encourage schools to find out how to get involved in this.”

Will Gardner, CEO at Childnet International said:

“We launched the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme two years ago as part of our work in the UK Safer Internet Centre, with support from Facebook and the European Commission. Since then we have trained thousands of peer educators in schools across the UK using our innovative digital platform and we are constantly inspired by the amazing activities they deliver to make a really positive difference in their school communities."

Katie Collett, Head of Anti-Bullying at The Diana Award said:

“Facebook’s support will enable us to upscale our work empowering 20,000 more young people to stand up to all forms of bullying and protect their peers over the next two years. Our tried and tested peer-led approach has transformed the lives of thousands of young people in schools across the UK & Ireland who spend 11,000 hours of their hours in education."

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