Daisy Harvey, Health & Wellbeing, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)
I recently attended the Safeguarding Children in the Digital Age online conference, which included two afternoons of talks related to the threats that young people may encounter online and how online safety can be improved. For me, this conference demonstrated how the research that is conducted at an academic level can be implemented in practice and demonstrated the importance of knowledge sharing beyond the institutional level. I learned a lot about how young people explore their identities online and the types of content that they might be exposed to and was particularly interested in how linguistic analysis can help to identify online harms such as grooming, radicalisation and misogyny. The conference provided a lot of insight into the difficulties faced by parents and educators as the boundaries between the online and offline realm become more and more blurred, and also suggested methods for developing resilience and technology-based solutions to improve online safety. I attended the conference because I’m interested in pursuing a career related to countering online harms and wanted to understand how my research methodology aligns with the research and work taking place beyond academia. It was a really valuable experience and provided me with new perspectives that will be useful when thinking about the direction of my research and life after my PhD, and it was really inspiring to hear about all of the amazing projects that people are working on internationally to try to make the world a safer place.