A three-year partnership working with teachers, parents and children across the UK to keep children safe online

BT and UNICEF UK, the UK arm of the world’s leading children’s organisation, today announced The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters, a partnership which aims to help children to protect themselves online, and help parents to keep their children safe on the internet. 

The three-year partnership will see both organisations work with teachers, parents and children across the UK, delivering ‘train the teachers’ sessions, which will be followed by workshops for parents and children on practical ideas and tools to empower them to be safe online. The partnership will also enable UNICEF UK to expand its UK based Rights Respecting Schools programme to disadvantaged areas. The launch of the partnership took place at BT Tower today, 31 March, 2014 with support from UNICEF UK supporter Keeley Hawes.

The launch comes on the eve of new research conducted by BT for the partnership, which reveals that 52% of parents with school children aged 4 – 16 do not feel they have enough support, or are not sure they have enough support, when it comes to talking to their children about online safety, and a further 21% lack the confidence to broach the subject with their children. The research went on to reveal that 75% of parents would welcome further support through their child’s school if it was offered.

The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters partnership will be rolled out from June among UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting Schools across the UK. As part of its commitment, BT will provide 600 volunteers from its staff to offer their technical expertise and training to teachers and parents on the subject of internet safety. The partnership marks the first time UNICEF UK has involved corporate volunteers in its programmes, a decision the organisation took based on the natural expertise of BT in this area.

The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters aims to reach 100 schools across the UK in its first year, with the aim of empowering children to protect themselves online and to maximise their potential through digital channels.  The partnership will deliver a range of support to children, parents and teachers to enable positive internet behaviour.  Over the course of the three-year programme BT and UNICEF UK will aim to deliver training to a total of 600 schools and reach a total of 21,000 parents and children through the workshops.  Once teachers have been trained to deliver the workshops independently, the partnership hopes this number will rise to a total of 35,000 children and parents.

BT will also provide funding to enable UNICEF UK to recruit a further 80 schools into UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting Schools Programme. This works to ensure that children’s rights are at the heart of a school’s planning, policies and practice. It enables children to learn about their rights to help them to be more confident, responsible citizens. The partnership with BT will enable UNICEF UK to reach more school children and teachers in some of the UK’s most deprived areas. 

The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters will see the two organisations combine their recognised track-records in supporting the wellbeing of future generations – BT through its Connected Society programme which aims to improve society through the power of digital connections, and UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools Programme. 

Pete Oliver, Commercial Director of BT’s Consumer Division, said: “We are hugely excited to partner with UNICEF on such an important project, and with an organisation that plays such a critical role in the protection of children’s safety.  At BT, we take online safety extremely seriously, and believe strongly that everyone should have the ability to use the internet in a safe and informed way.”

Catherine Cottrell, Deputy Executive Director, Fundraising UNICEF UK, said: “At UNICEF we believe that children across the UK have the right to grow up safely, using technology and the internet for all of its many benefits in a safe and informed way. We are delighted to be working with BT to bring our Rights Respecting Schools programme to even more schools and to work with BT’s expert volunteers to give children, parents and teachers the support  they need to help keep their families safe online.”

Julie Lunnon, a Citizenship Teacher at Cannon Lane Primary School, said: “Online safety has become such a critical issue for schools with more and more children having access to the internet. It’s a great idea to bring school children, their parents and teachers together and get them talking to each other about this issue.  Our school is part of UNICEF UK’s Rights Respecting Schools programme which is all about children learning about their rights and the importance of respecting everyone’s rights.”

UNICEF UK supporter Keeley Hawes said: “It’s great BT and UNICEF UK have come together to address online safety for children in schools, an issue that is vitally important in a society increasingly influenced by digital media.  Supporting children’s rights is an issue I am very passionate about, both as a mother and supporter of the great work UNICEF UK is doing with Rights Respecting Schools. It’s fantastic that hundreds of these schools will be involved in this partnership”.



Notes for editors:

1. Research was conducted 20 March – 21 March 2014 amongst 2,000 parents of school children aged 4 – 16.

2. The Connected Society programme is part of BT’s Better Future commitment. Being a responsible and sustainable business leader is one of BT’s six strategic priorities to grow the value of its business.

The Connected Society programme, uses the power of communication to improve lives and ways of doing business. It is about providing access to the internet and helping people develop the skills and confidence they need to use it to make a difference to their lives.

One of the key pillars is around online safety: We want to make sure that connected societies are as safe as they can be, ensuring data is secure, privacy is maintained and children are protected when online.

You can find out more about BT’s Better Future and Connected Society programmes here: https://www.btplc.com/betterfuture/connectedsociety/index.htm

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369.

From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369. E-mail newsroom@bt.com 

All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.bt.com/newscentre

For more information please contact Sandra Brobbey on 020 7375 6069 sandrab@unicef.org.uk or Nicola Dillon on 020 7375 6096 nicolad@unicef.org.uk  

About BT
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach. For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m.British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. For more information, visit www.btplc.com

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit unicef.org.uk