'Be the change: unite for a better internet' - that's the message this Safer Internet Day.
Since 2004, Safer Internet Day has been held every year in February with the aim of fostering positive experiences on the internet and encouraging people to challenge the negative use of the internet in order to make a better online world for all. The day aims to unite thousands of people across the globe to raise awareness of online safety issues.
The event is now celebrated in more than 120 countries across the world, with at least 21,000 schools and 19.5million people getting involved in Safer Internet Day (SID) activites in Europe alone last year.
In championing a better internet, SID aims to encourage people to be the change and make the most of the positive opportunities offered online, while giving them the resilience, skills, knowledge and support they need to navigate any online risks they may come across.
The day is organised by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commisison and aims to help by working with five key groups:
- Children and young people can help to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations (and those of others), and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online. They can help to respond to the negative by being ‘helpful bystanders’: supporting peers if they encounter issues online, taking a stand against cyberbullying, and reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find. Above all, children and young people should be encouraged to take their stand as digital citizens of the future – participating in debates on the future of the internet, and making their voices heard.
- Parents and carers can help to create a better internet by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues, seeking out positive opportunities to engage with their children online, and helping their children to find and use good quality digital resources. They can help to respond to the negative by staying engaged with their child’s online activity (as appropriate to their age), by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and by also reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find,
- Educators and social care workers can help to create a better internet by equipping children and young people 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 resilience, confidence and skills that young people need to navigate the internet safely.
Industry can help to create a better internet by creating and promoting positive content and safe services online and by empowering users to respond to any issues by providing clear safety advice, a range of easy-to-use safety tools, and quick 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 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. They must also take the lead in governance and legislation, and ultimately ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through effective child protection strategies for the online world.
Many activities are organised around the day, week and month of Safer Internet Day. Find your nearest events here.
You can also register your support for the day as a school, individual or organisation, support the Thunderclap to make a 'noise' online on the day itself, and follow the action on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #SID2017 and #SaferInternetDay.
Find out more at Safer Internet Day