Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally every year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation about how we can all make the internet a safer place.
Thousands of organisations in over one hundred countries celebrate the event held in February by launching education programmes, talking about online hate, highlighting digital friendships and wellbeing and covering many other topics related to online safety.
This year, Safer Internet Day calls upon young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers and more to come together and create a safe and healthy environment.
Top tips for parents and carers
In the home, the kids may be the digital natives but its parents and carers who instil a sense of safety, teaching children safety awareness and what to look out for.
- Talk regularly with your child about how they use technology to find out which sites and services they most frequently use and also how being online makes them feel.
- Ask your child to share with you their favourite things to do online and encourage them to discuss the risks they might come across.
- There are lots of tools to help manage the devices used by your family. BullGuard Parental Controls help parents and carers prevent access to suspicious websites, put search filters in place to block out harmful content, discretely monitor the children’s online activities, limit the time they spend online and even block certain applications.
- You can help to keep your child safe by using features such as privacy settings on social media and understanding how to make a report on a range of apps, games and services.
- It makes sense to approach the internet as a family. You could come together as a family to talk and map out how you’re going to use the internet safely and positively.
Tips to pass on to children
There are some useful pointers that can help protect children when online. Younger children up to the age of 11 will be well equipped to navigate online dangers if they understand the following points:
- Never agree to meet up with someone you only know online and always tell a trusted adult if someone online asks to meet.
- Keep personal information safe and check with an adult before you share anything online. This can include, your address, email address phone number and passwords
- Be kind and positive to people online even if you only know them through live chat.
- If you upset someone online, even accidently, saying sorry is a powerful way of putting things right.
- If being online is making you feel worried, upset or confused, go offline and have a break.
- Always tell an adult you trust if you see anything that worries you online.
As children get older, the advice changes, but there are still some important points to help guide them to safer internet practice:
- When online treat your relationships as you would offline; create, develop and maintain positive and valuable connections.
- Show empathy to others online in order to build positive relationships. Never make harmful judgements.
- Consider that what you share online could be there forever and is a reflection on your character. Post positively and respectfully about yourself and others.
- Update your privacy settings and keep personal things personal.
- Not everything or everyone online can be trusted. Before you believe what you read online think carefully about where it comes from and who’s written it.
- Never agree to meet up with someone you only know online. No matter how friendly they might seem or how well you think you know them.
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