The theme for Safer Internet Day 2014 is ‘Let’s create a better internet together’. This theme covers the responsibility that all users have in making the internet a better place. Whether children and young people, parents and carers, educators or social care workers, or indeed industry, decision makers or politicians, everyone has a role to play.
In championing a better internet, the theme recognises the balance between encouraging users to embrace and empowering them to make the most of the positive opportunities offered online, while responding to, dealing with and moving past the negative online.
The internet is such a part of everyday life that it is easy to forget how relatively new the environment is. Consequently it is also easy to be complacent about internet safety; surely our ‘digital native’ youth know what they are doing? But in reality there is an internet knowledge gap and indeed internet safety knowledge gap between the generations. So it is vital that our educators as well as their students are aware of the dangers the enable them to safely benefit from the positives.
It is also important to remember that we as users are contributing to the online environment too, so we also ensure that when we do interact online (as we would in the offline world), that we do so as responsible citizens. Education about cyber antics which can begin innocently but lead onto more serious bullying situations is key.
There are ways in which all users can contribute:
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 by also 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 youngsters if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the confidence and skills to seek help from others.
Safer Internet Day Resources
E-safety Support has many resources which can help teach, learn and practice online safety for the whole school community, including our Safer Internet Day 2014 Assemblies for primary schools and secondary schools, which are available to download by joining as a E-safety Support Free Member (Premium and Premium Plus members can also download the assemblies from their E-safety Support Dashboard).