Today is Safer Internet Day and we’re joining this global event with over 1600 other organisations to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
Coordinated in the UK by UK Safer Internet Centre, Safer Internet Day 2017 is our sixth consecutive year of proud support. Over the years, it has helped mark the launch of HomeSafe, our free family-friendly security software as well as Internet Matters, the not-for-profit organisation we created with BT, Sky and Virgin Media to help keep children safe in the digital world. Today, we have used our social platforms to run activities on staying safe online and to direct parents and carers to Internet Matters, for further help and advice on how to have positive conversations with their children about staying safe online.
This year’s theme is ‘Be the change: Unite for a better internet’ and has a special focus on the power of image in digital youth culture. Image and video sharing have become increasingly popular amongst children and young people as they are powerful tools of communication, self-expression and creativity. This means however, that we need to ensure children have the appropriate skills, knowledge, confidence and resilience to safely and positively communicate using images and videos. And in today’s world, we all need to remember the importance of critical thinking as we post online.
This is why ‘Be the change’ encourages everyone on social media to use the power of the emoji and images under the tag #GiveaSmile to make the internet smile and to show the power of a positive image in helping to create a better and safer internet community.
Today’s six-year-olds are now as digitally advanced as 10-year-olds were three years ago. A recent survey by Internet Matters shows that 48% of all six-year-olds are browsing the internet, with 44% of children using the internet in their bedroom and 41% at home without supervision. And so whilst it’s fantastic to see children embracing digital skills, there has never been a more important time for parents, carers, teachers, social workers, companies and the like to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
Safer Internet Day is the perfect time to remember how important it is that we all work to create a safer internet for children and families today and every day.