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Digital Civility: Student Safety Online

What is Digital Civility?

Digital Civility refers to the interactions you have online, and includes interactions with others, online risks and safety online. So, are your interactions with others online civil, are you treated with respect, are they courteous and are your interactions without abuse and personal attacks (Microsoft, 2018)?

The Digital Civility project at the University of Suffolk is an innovative initiative that received funding through the HEFCE Catalyst fund. The University aims to increase digital civility, improve the online safety of students in relation to online abuse, harassment, and hate crime over the coming year, with the support of the University of Suffolk Student Union, Student Services and Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research. 

  • Over the year 2017/2018, the university will provide and promote various educational materials, media campaigns, workshops and seminars on several aspects of online risk, such as indecent images and revenge pornography, devised and led by experts in the field.
  • It is envisaged that adopting a whole university and community-led approach, as well as identifying ‘what works’ for our students, should enable a substantial improvement in student digital safety and wellbeing.

In addition to the Blurring Boundaries and Virtual Violence conferences, consisting of workshops and talks from various experts within the field of online safeguarding, we have held training workshops and seminars for both staff and students. These include responding to disclosures of online sexual abuse and reporting and removing indecent images online. Furthermore, discussion groups as well as awareness raising materials and educational resources have and will continue to be employed across the campus, the VLE and social media.

We care about your experiences online. As a part of this project we asked students to complete a digital civility survey so we can identify what yours and your family and or friends experiences are online in order to improve our response to student experiences of online harassment and risk. The survey has now closed, but keep an eye on this page for further news, findings and project outcomes.

Watch Professor Emma Bond discuss the project in more detail: Professor Emma Bond - digital citizenship