Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘I’ve had to develop a thick skin’: How do we protect youngsters from online harm?

Iain Bundred and Michael Marra MSP with 2nd year pupils Christian Hainey, Georgia Frattaroli, Megan Cochrane and Jack Neill.
Iain Bundred and Michael Marra MSP with 2nd year pupils Christian Hainey, Georgia Frattaroli, Megan Cochrane and Jack Neill.

With the news billionaire Elon Musk is set to take over Twitter, young people have sharing their views on the potential harms that can be found online.

But who should be responsible for the content that is posted on the internet and what is the best way to protect users from the potential harm that can be inflicted?

These were among the topics Grove Academy pupils learned about at a special workshop, hosted with the help of YouTube, at the school last week.

Fake news, hate speech and the ‘us vs them’ narrative was all on the agenda as pupils were taught the skills to help them navigate the range of online harms.

“It can affect you emotionally”

The Broughty Ferry school was among those taking part in the the Be Internet Citizens workshop, a programme which aims to encourage young people to have a positive voice online.

But what do the youngsters really think about the internet and have they already experienced the negative side of social media?

Georgia Frattaroli, S2, said: “(Online hate) has not really happened to me but I’ve witnessed it on the comment section of people’s posts.

“What people say on the internet can affect you emotionally.”

Pupils Christian Hainey, Georgia Frattaroli and Megan Cochrane. Pictures by Steve MacDougall/DCT Media

Megan Cochrane, also in S2, added: “Sometimes I see on some social media platforms that people make accounts to try to embarrass people.

“I don’t think it is always good because it can affect your mental health; you can end up spending more time on the internet than socialising in real life.

“In my opinion I would say it’s probably best to ignore it because if there is no reaction to their hate comments, it will get boring for those posting.”

“I’ve had to develop a thick skin”

It’s not just youngsters, however, who can be victims on online hate and for those in the public eye it’s often something that comes with the territory.

Michael Marra, Labour MSP for the North East Scotland region, explained. “I do get quite a bit of abuse online, not as much as some people but I have had to develop a thick skin.

“I haven’t had death threats but some colleagues have. I try and look at it with sympathy – why is that person spending their time doing this?”

Iain Bundred (head of public policy, UK and Ireland at YouTube) and Michael Marra MSP.

Who is responsible for regulation?

The debate on social media and internet regulation is one that splits opinion. Should more be done by online platforms to moderate content or is it the users themselves who should take responsibility?

For Iain Bundred, head of public policy at YouTube, balance is key.

He said: “From our perspective, (the internet) is a great place and we are really proud of YouTube as a platform but there are down sides.

“We as a company invest huge amounts in content moderating so we can stop people seeing bad stuff but I think it’s important that users play their part as well.

“I think it’s right that we a mixture of more rules from individual platforms and also government, as well as induvial taking responsibility.”

To find out more about the workshop click here.

School league tables 2022: Here’s how Fife and Tayside secondary schools rank

Already a subscriber? Sign in





Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google



Or login with

Forgotten your password?


More from The Courier Education team

More from The Courier