5 min read
6 February 2024
Last Modified 8 February 2024
Tuesday 6th February marks World Safer Internet Day!
Whether you’re an avid web surfer or you rarely go online, ensuring you’re browsing the internet safely is paramount. This World Safer Internet Day, we want to help ensure that our clients, friends, family and pretty much everyone else has the tools and knowledge to keep themselves safe this year, and in the future. We’re here to delve into what the day is all about and how we can all play our part in making the internet a much safer place. Without further ado, let’s delve in!
What is World Safer Internet Day?
World Safer Internet Day is a global initiative aimed at making the web a safer place for everyone, no matter how young or old, regardless of their technical proficiency. The annual day occurs every February and raises awareness about the potential safety and security risks the internet poses to us all, but especially to children and young people. Additionally, the initiative aims to ensure that the internet is an inclusive space where everyone feels safe and encourages parents, caregivers, educators, teachers, industry leaders and policymakers to join together to build a safer online world.
The initiative itself was founded 21 years ago, when the internet remained in its relative infancy. Recent research by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) who organise the international day, found that only 32% of children are aware of the Online Safety Act. Highlighting that the initiative is still very much needed to spread awareness and improve the safety of our increasingly digital world! With many leading figures and organisations including Liverpool Football Club jumping on board the initiative, it’s clear that there is a real need to provide online education and resources to keep our communities safe.
What’s this year’s theme?
This year the theme is ‘Together for a better internet’ and calls for leaders and other stakeholders to join forces to make the internet safer for all. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the internet is fast becoming a minefield that is advancing quicker than most of us can keep up with! As a result, posing a threat to our youngest in the community; You only have to watch the news to hear about all sorts of AI concerns surrounding deepfakes, security risks and more. However, these advancements in tech also provide tons of opportunities and advantages for our communities. That’s why World Safer Internet Day initiative, to promote embracing the latest innovations whilst ensuring that we keep safe online.
How can I help make the internet a safer place for my kids?
If you’re wondering how you can help to make the internet a safer place for your kids, there are many resources over on the official World Safer Internet Day website to help you on your way. We’ve gathered a few key points particularly aimed at parents and caregivers to help make the internet a safer place for children and young people:
Parental Controls: Ensure you have Parental Controls switched on for any devices that young people may use. This will prevent them from gaining access to inappropriate or age-restricted content in addition to setting time-restrictions and preventing them from making in-app purchases.
Screen Time: Although there is no perfect amount of screen time for anyone, understanding the signs that an individual may have had too much screen time can be crucial in maintaining their wellbeing. Screen Time should always be thought about as ‘quality over quantity’ and while using devices for homework, socialising with friends and playing games can all be beneficial, screen time shouldn’t replace sleeping, eating or get in the way of hobbies.
Social Media: Parents and caregivers should take the time to understand what privacy features are available on social media apps and implement them where necessary. Ensure you’re available to talk and have open conversations about social media so you can be there to support them through any issues and always prioritise wellbeing.
Gaming: Online gaming is hugely popular with children and young people and research shows that gaming can improve concentration and teamwork. However, there are some risks that come along with gaming online so be sure to check that the games your children are playing are age appropriate, show them how to block or report unkind messages and check who they are chatting with online.
Cyberbullying: 12% of people in the UK are affect by cyberbullying. Therefore, it’s crucial to educate and empower young people to ignore unkind messages and allow them to speak up if they are being bullied.
We hope we’ve played our part in spreading the importance of education surrounding online safety this World Safer Internet Day. If you need further resources or want to get involved, head to UKSIC.