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  1. ITV Report

Facebook to train pupils as digital safety ambassadors in secondary schools

Pupils in over 4,500 schools will be trained as digital leaders and anti-bullying ambassadors. Credit: PA|

Facebook is to offer digital safety training to every secondary school in the UK as part of a new partnership with youth charities.

The social media giant will work with Childnet International and The Diana Award to train pupils in more than 4,500 schools as digital leaders and anti-bullying ambassadors over the next two years.

Recently published research found almost two thirds of 13 to 17-year-olds (63%) wanted more peer-led online education programmes in schools

The new programme will offer pupils access to face-to-face training, online resources and forums.

The aim of the initiative is to increase digital safety awareness. Credit: PA

Facebook's head of global safety policy Antigone Davis said around 1 in 4 young people are victims of cyberbullying and the firm "wants to make sure that kids have the kind of support they need".

"I know as a parent that I want my child to have the skills that she needs to address these issues," she told ITV News.

When asked if the company is doing enough to tackle the problem, Ms Davis said the new programme is "really reflective of a long-standing commitment we've had to the issues of online safety".

Facebook's head of global safety policy Antigone Davis. Credit: ITV News

Facebook has also said a physical experience designed to highlight the online safety challenges young people face has also been launched in London.

It includes an audio maze that "evokes feelings of being bullied".

Social media firms have face criticism over efforts to combat online abuse and extremism. Credit: PA

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said the new initiative formed part of government plans to make the UK the "safest place in the world" to be online.

"The internet has many amazing opportunities for our young people but what is unacceptable offline needs to be unacceptable on a computer screen."

"It's fantastic that Facebook have committed to providing digital ambassadors, these students in schools will help give their peers the tools they need to stay safe and tackle issues such as cyberbullying," she added.

The government has previously criticised Facebook and other technology giants including Twitter and Google over efforts to combat online abuse and extremism - which they have admitted still need improvement.