Digital Disruption: Web Savvy, Life Savvy

3 new digital tools to help young people be savvier + safer online

Rpf_headshot_low_res Submitted by Rebecca Ford
Interactivism // Think Kids Pitch Day
How can we use tech to help under 18s get the most from the web and stay safe?

The Digital Disruption Project empowers young people to use the internet effectively and responsibly by equipping them with digital judgement skills: that is, the skills they need to engage critically with the content they consume, create and share online.

We’re developing 3 new digital tools, each of which focus on using real engagement and co-creation processes to help young people be savvier, more discerning internet users:


A set of visually striking, easy-to-digest practical guidelines to help young people be savvy and stay safe online – communicated via innovative digital and offline content.

• Like the Highway Code or the Green Cross Code – except the Digital Highway Code breaks down the steps you need to take to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly

• Create guidelines for key digital literacy topics (eg. on source checking, managing digital footprints, and understanding search engines) based on current research – with input from industry experts and from young people

• Visually communicate the guidelines in short, sharp step-by-step guides that use striking icons and graphics

• Test the Digital Highway Code with young people to ensure it’s engaging, memorable, and that it speaks their language

• Produce in enhanced digital format, with audio and animated elements – easy to access, share, and use across a variety of learning contexts

• Make them available in 2D poster format, too – educators can download them and use them to raise digital literacy awareness in young people’s offline physical environments


The Green Cross Code


A game that allows young people to experience first hand the tools, scams and techniques that can influence them online – a guerrilla approach to e-safety that combines entertainment and education.

• The player is cast in an active participant role – they get duped by different techniques and scams in the game

• This has a ‘vaccination effect’ – young people experience being tricked and misled, but as a result are able to recognise some of the potential dangers and risks online, so they can protect themselves in the future

• Co-design and test it with young people to ensure it’s entertaining, engaging and meaningful

• Tried and tested process – we successfully used a vaccination approach to educate using films in our Vampire Conspiracy Project


Digital Disruption’s Vampire Conspiracy Project:

Channel 4 Education’s Sweatshop:


A digital judgement survey that uses infographics to visualise participants’ data on the spot and links to educational content – research, learning and communications combined.

• A new approach to measuring young people’s digital judgement ability – with learning baked into the process

• Not your average survey – each question is accompanied by an interactive infographic

• The infographics will update in real time to reflect the data young people enter – so they see how their answers feed into the visual outputs

• Every question will link to educational content relating to the topic it addresses (eg. after completing the question “When you visit a website, do you check who made it and why?” can link to The Source Check Guide in the Digital Highway Code).

• Infographics can be shared to raise awareness around digital judgement topics


• Young people in the UK live in a digital world where the internet and digital technologies impact on every aspect of life. Like reading, writing and maths, digital judgement is a core skill set for the 21st century.

• Young people tend to be confident, but not competent internet users – they lack the ability to engage critically with digital media and technologies, though they are central to the forming of their core beliefs and learning about the world.

• Ofcom’s report (2011) shows that a third of young people think that if a search engine lists information then it must be truthful, and one in ten don’t consider the veracity of results but just visit the sites they like the look of.

• In Demos’ 2011 survey of 500 UK teachers, 99 per cent said they think digital judgement is an important skill for their pupils to possess, but they rated their pupils’ skills as poor on a range of issues.

• Parents, schools, libraries and many more people and organisations want to put digital literacy on young people’s radar – but they need educational tools and visually striking communications in order to do this.

• More research is needed to better understand digital judgement ability and how it impacts on life outcomes such as educational attainment, employability and wellbeing

• We need to raise awareness of the importance of digital judgement and the implications for individuals, communities and society

  • Stevie Benton
    15 Nov at 16:01

    I think these ideas are really strong.

    The thing that really appeals to me is that they each have as their basis participation and creativity, rather than restriction and the denial of access.

    Digital literacy is definitely a core skill and one that hasn't, to this point, received the attention or resources that it demands. This must change if we are to make sure that young people are to learn (and be taught) a skill set that adequately prepares them for life.

    Each of these ideas appears viable to me and I hope to see them pitched in December!