January 21st 2014
Everyone has a role in making the internet a safer place for our children and young people – whether parents and carers, educators, social care workers, industry, decision makers and politicians, and indeed young internet users themselves.
This is the idea behind Safer Internet Day (SID), a global event focusing on the continuing importance of keeping young people safe online, and the importance of cooperation in helping to achieve it. This year, it will take place on Tuesday February 11th and the theme is "Let's create a better internet together". In the UK, Safer Internet Day is organised every February by the UK Safer Internet Centre.
The day will focus on both the creative things that children and young people are doing online, as well as the role and responsibility that all stakeholders have in helping to create a better internet. The UK Safer Internet Centre provides specific Safer Internet Day resources and support for children and young people, parents and carers as well as teachers and school staff and facilitates a wide range of organisations, including Get Safe Online, to join together to amplify the safer internet message.
– Children and young people can help to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online and seeking positive and safe opportunities to create, engage and share online.
– Parents and carers can help to create a better internet by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, supporting them with their online activity (as appropriate to their age), particularly any concerns and issues, and seeking out positive opportunities to share with their children online. They can help to respond to the negative by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and also by reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.
– Educators and social care workers can help to empower children and young people to embrace the positive by equipping them with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world, and giving them opportunities to use – and create – positive content online. They can help to respond to the negative by supporting young people if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the confidence and skills to seek help from others.
– Industry has a role to play by creating – and promoting – positive content and services online. They can empower users to respond to the negative by ensuring that there are the right tools for users, that there are clear channels and transparent procedures for reporting and quick and easy access to support if things do go wrong.
– Decision makers and politicians need to provide the culture in which all of the above can function and thrive – for example, by ensuring that there are opportunities in the curriculum for children to learn and teachers to teach about online safety, ensuring that parents and carers have access to appropriate information and sources of support, and that industry are encouraged to self regulate their content and services.
About the UK Safer Internet Centre
The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charitable organisations, Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). These organisations are committed to working to make a safer and better internet. All partners recognise the unparalleled opportunities the internet offers and actively encourage its positive use for social, leisure, economic and educational advancement. The partners all work towards the Childnet target; to make the internet a great and safe place for children. The UK Safer Internet Centre is online at www.saferinternet.org.uk