Creative focus on cyber wellbeing

Some of the best creative minds in the North East were brought together for a cyber wellbeing event designed to find “new and exciting solutions” to the challenges of keeping children and young people safe and healthy online.

Nov 1, 2017

Some of the best creative minds in the North East were brought together for a cyber wellbeing event designed to find “new and exciting solutions” to the challenges of keeping children and young people safe and healthy online. The Cyber-Wellbeing Solution Hack was organised in partnership with Northumbria Police as part of an ongoing project between Creative Fuse North East and the police to raise public awareness of cyber security. Representatives from the North East’s creative, digital and IT sector spent two days working to find solutions to the problems associated with cyber wellbeing and cybercrime. It is hoped some of the concepts created during last month’s event, hosted by Campus North with the Northumbria University Creative Fuse team, will be developed into real-world technologies and used by teachers and parents in schools and homes across the country in the future. Detective Chief Superintendent Lisa Orchard, head of crime at Northumbria Police said: “We are really looking forward to seeing the ideas generated by this event. Working with Creative Fuse will allow us to access academic and IT professionals to come up with new and innovative solutions to some of our most challenging issues in keeping young people safe online.” The event was one of many upcoming innovation support opportunities planned by Creative Fuse North East – a partnership between the region’s five universities. Creative Fuse is a £4 million Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project that allows academics from Northumbria, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and Teesside universities to work with industry, cultural organisations, charities and the public sector. Together they explore how creative, digital and IT businesses can share best practice and encourage the adoption of new innovative working practices. Dr Elena Gorman, project development manager for Creative Fuse at Northumbria University, said the Cyber-Wellbeing Solution Hack was a really exciting event that brought together “some of the best creative minds in the region, with the aim of finding some new and exciting solutions to some of the challenges with keeping young people safe online”. “As well as coming up with some great ideas the event was also a good opportunity for creative, digital and IT professionals in the region to make new connections and tap into cutting-edge academic and creative research,” she added. The theme of cybercrime has also been the focus of research by students from Northumbria’s Multidisciplinary Innovation Masters course, with a team of six recently undertaking a three-month project exploring the subject. They focused specifically on teenagers, looking at current educational practices and the different habits, behaviours, perceptions and awareness between young people, teachers, and parents around cybercrime. Their research uncovered a number of key challenges that fed into the Cyber-Wellbeing Solution Hack and will inform potential creative solutions. During a similar event held recently by the students, ideas generated included a coding challenge, a computer game and a regional competition, all designed to raise awareness of cyber security among teenagers. Lyndsey Britton, co-founder of Newcastle’s Campus North, said: “Campus North is all about collaboration and bringing the digital community together to work on and develop innovative solutions. We were delighted to support this hackathon, especially as it’s to help solve such an important issue.” Figures from the NSPCC show that 5,653 sex crimes committed against children in 2016/17 had an online element – an increase of 44 per cent from the previous year. Thirteen was the most common age of the targeted child (where recorded), while nearly 100 offences were committed against children aged ten and under, the youngest child recorded being three years old. In the Northumbria Police area, the number of child sexual offences committed on the internet more than trebled last year, with NSPCC figures showing there were 323 incidents in 2016/17, u

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