What is Safer Internet Day?
Tuesday the 5th of February is Safer Internet Day .This has been an annual, global campaign, for the past 16 years, Safer Internet Day celebrations aim to raise awareness of both a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology not just safely but also responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, as well as industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet. This will allow each and every user to make the most of all the opportunities new technologies have to offer.
One of the main concerns of adults regarding children’s use of online devices is the risks of overuse and the consequences associated with that, such as speech delays in toddlers, poor quality of sleep, and higher incidences of depression and cyberbullying.
In any case, having an open discussion with children about their screen time is essential. It is important to talk to them about the games they are playing online. Children need to know they can talk to someone if they have any issues concerning online devices.
Teach your child good cyber hygiene habits
Just like the real world, it is adults’ responsibility to pave the way and teach young users the do’s and don’ts of the online world. Reckless online behaviour exposes children and young people to an array of risks. That is why teaching children the basic principles of cyber hygiene is an essential step to guarantee a positive online experience for children. Children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing matters, especially online.
Make the internet a place of opportunities for young users
The internet presents some risks for children, but it is also full opportunities: when used safely and constructively, it can be a real tool for empowerment. Digital skills are essential for all children, and will keep on becoming more and more so.For children and young people to make the most of the opportunities offered by the online world, they need to develop a critical mind set and strong media literacy skills.
Advice for children
The following are some things that parents may wish to consider teaching their children about using the internet safely:
- Make sure you use the privacy settings.
- Always respect others – be careful what you say online.
- Be careful what pictures or videos you upload. Once a picture is shared online it cannot be taken back.
- Only add people you know and trust to friends/followers lists online. When talking to strangers, keep your personal information safe and location hidden.
- Treat your password like your toothbrush – keep it to yourself and change it regularly.
- Block the bully – learn how to block or report someone who is behaving badly.
- Do not retaliate or reply to offending e-mails, text messages or online conversations.
- Save the evidence. Always keep a copy of offending e-mails, text messages or a screen grab of online conversations and pass to a parent, a carer or a teacher.
- Make sure you tell an adult you trust, for example, a parent, a carer, a teacher, or the anti-bullying co-ordinator or call a helpline like Childline on 08001111 in confidence.
- Most social media services and other sites have a button you can click on to report bullying. Doing this can prevent a bully from targeting you and others in the future. Many services take bullying seriously and will either warn the individual or eliminate his or her account.
- While you are on your mobile phone make sure you also pay attention to your surroundings.
As part of our Stay Safe Programme we will be covering the topic of cyber bullying in the older classes.