Carolyn Bunting is CEO at Internet Matters, a not for profit organisation that helps parents keep their children safe online. They are members of the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, and part of HRH the Duke of Cambridge cyberbullying taskforce.
Make a Noise is a pilot project that lets children, parents and carers report bullying and cyberbullying concerns to schools, providing help and advice on how to deal with any issues raised. Internet Matters in partnership with tootoot have created a combined online resource hub and reporting platform that can be accessed 24/7 from any connected device.
Children and young people can be bullied for all manner of reasons from appearance and accents to gender and race. And it can have a huge impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
Whilst many schools have an open-door policy for reporting bullying; methods such as talking face-to-face or emailing can prevent a child from seeking help. A survey by Ditch the Label suggested that half of the children and young people who responded to say that had been bullied in the past year also said they never told anyone through fear, embarrassment or lack of faith in the support systems.
The Make a Noise project aims to combat bullying and the barriers to reporting by providing pupils with an anonymous reporting platform that schools can use to provide support and advice directly to the pupil concerned.
Internet Matters with support from tootoot, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and other anti-bullying, e-safety and children’s charities provide the reporting tool to schools within a broader project of bullying, cyberbullying and online safety advice and guidance.
Three hundred schools in six regional areas of the EnglandUK are currently benefiting from the project which gives pupils, parents and staff access to online advice and guidance, and gives them the ability to report concerns at any time directly to their school. They can also attach evidence such as pictures, screenshots and videos. This is then escalated to a nominated lead at the school who can deal with it appropriately. A resource hub is embedded within the platform and provides relevant information to students, parents, carers and teachers.
The project provides schools with tootoot, a reporting tool that enables them to capture and evidence bullying, cyberbullying and other issues. It also gives schools a clear process to ensure all reported incidents of bullying and cyberbullying can be dealt with using an agreed escalation process; following existing policies and procedures. The project also provides industry-leading guidance and access to a resource hub that supports schools, young people and parents to deal with the worries and concerns of cyberbullying, like reporting issues directly to social media platforms.
We’ve already had some really positive feedback about our work:
"The impact the reporting tool have had within our school has been really positive. It has allowed us to open up channels of communication with our pupils that weren't there before - helping them to feel more confident reporting their concerns, however big or small." – Head teacher
“The system allows for a good ‘back’ record of incidents and action, as well as providing a good data overview of pupils/issues dealt with.” - Cornwall School
“I really like the chronology element to the system and how case management can be moved easily. All the information that is available is very useful – very well thought through.” – Warrington School
If you’d like to find out more about the Make a Noise project , you can visit the Make a Noise website or get in touch with Internet Matters.