The Chief Executive of Childnet International has been honoured with a Doctorate from the University of Suffolk.
Will Gardner joined the charity in 2000 and appointed CEO 7 years ago. He is an Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and also sits on Facebook’s Safety Advisory Board.
In his time at Childnet Will has led the development of Childnet’s range of award-winning internet safety materials aimed at children, parents and carers, and teachers and schools.
He is responsible for organising Safer Internet Day (SID) in the UK, a fast-growing national awareness campaign that takes place every February – SID messages in 2016 reached 40% of children.
Will has delivered key note speeches at conferences held at the University and supported Suffolk’s Associate Professor Dr Emma Bond on the much-needed and pioneering research on pro-anorexia websites and more recently the University’s relationship with the Marie Collins Foundation. He is supportive of the collaborative nature of research the University develops and frequently references Suffolk’s research at national, government and international levels.
He attended the ceremony for students from the Department of Children, Young People and Education and said “I feel very excited and very honoured. I am very proud for Childnet too as it really is a reflection of the work we have been doing for the last 20 years. I am hoping people will see that this award is being given on me but really on the organisation too and I am hoping that will be of great benefit as we are always trying to reach out to more people; to more parents, children, teachers and schools.”
“We have the Early Years students graduating today, teacher trainers too and I know from the issues we are talking about online safety is absolutely important to those particular fields. This is a really important issue, the online safeguarding, for very young children too not just the older ones. The team at the University is making a very valuable contribution to the online safety space for children through their research and through the work of people like Dr Emma Bond.”
Honorary Awards recognise notable contributions to the educational or cultural well-being of society. This can be in business, industry, commerce or enterprise, for academic distinction, for public or community service or an exceptional involvement in the University.
1,342 students will be conferred at ceremonies in Ipswich this week. The ceremonies mark the graduation of the last full student cohort of University Campus Suffolk. Next autumn will see the conferral of the first degrees awarded by the University of Suffolk.
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