Giving Compass' Take:

· Kelly Bradshaw-Walsh at Think NPC explores ways to create safe online learning spaces for young people and how to stay human in the digital age.

· How can adults create safe online spaces as they do in real life? Why is this so important?

· Check out these tips for addressing remote learning's emotional challenges.

Loneliness can do serious and lasting harm to young people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Social distancing fractures traditional support networks, making things even more challenging, especially for young people negotiating difficult life transitions. A recent survey of the Youth Sector by UK Youth found that ‘increased loneliness and isolation of young people’ has become the second greatest concern for those working in the sector, after mental health and wellbeing. Social distancing is a huge challenge for anyone working with young people, and is significantly changing the nature of support that can be given.

Like many others, Building Connections grant holders have been forced to adapt to Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown. When NPC surveyed Building Connections grant holders, they found that 42% had switched to delivering a similar service remotely, and 44% were no longer able to deliver their usual services, so were starting to deliver new and different services remotely (based on responses from 49 out of 125 grant holders).

Whilst some youth organisations are familiar with video chats and online group calls, others have found abandoning face-to-face interaction challenging. Youth workers are worried about keeping young people safe online and building or maintaining good relationships.

Face-to-face contact should not be underestimated, but the good news is that digital interventions can be effective in improving outcomes for young people. The key is to include some form of personalisation or contact with a practitioner.

Read the full article about safe online spaces for young people by Kelly Bradshaw-Walsh at Think NPC.