Today the 9th of February, 2016 is Safer Internet Day and the theme is; “Play your part for a better internet”. Safer Internet Day is a celebration that sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
It is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre and is celebrated in over a hundred countries globally via the joint effort of the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe.
It’s a day that offers the opportunity to highlight the positive uses of technology and to explore our individual roles in creating a better and safer online community. It calls on everyone from youths, parents, teachers to policy makers to come together and create a better environment online.
This year’s celebration of this day of positive action comes as the UK Safer Internet Centre launches a new report; Creating a Better Internet for All, that captures the experiences of young people in the areas of online empowerment or online hate. The study suggests that contrary to the age limit on most social media networks, more than three-quarters of children aged 10 to 12 in the UK have social media accounts and also suggests that one in five has faced online bullying. Most of the surveys although for young people in the UK, show the reality of social media usage in this day and age. A Comres survey for Newsround, which was based on 1200 young people aged 10 to 18, found social media to be an important part of everyday life.
For the readers who may be unaware, the age limit on most social media networks is set at 13 years, with Whatsapp being the unusual case, which is set at 16 years. With the real threats of slanderous gossip, explicit content and unkind comments, it is an advisable route to take to keep your under 13-year-old off social media as much as is in your power.
Hannah Broadbent, from the UK Safer Internet Centre, presents an interesting opinion in this as she told the BBC: “It’s so important that we show children what other things they can do using digital technology that are engaging, creative and age-appropriate…It’s about showing them what else it could be and inspiring them with that.” It may be quite difficult to keep children off the web, but redirecting their focus to more productive and age appropriate sites will go a long way to curbing the negative effects that come with some social media affiliations.
Google is marking Safer Internet Day by encouraging everyone who accesses the web to take serious steps to ensure their identities and payment information are safeguarded. It has promised to give a free two GB storage on Google drive to everyone who takes these steps to secure their information;
- Check recovery information like phone number or a backup email
- List all devices (smartphones, tablets and chrome browser) connected to the Google account
- Optionally choose to disable access for less secure apps
After carrying out these two steps, the user will be given a list of apps, mostly from Android that have access to the user’s Google account. The entire point of Safer Internet day is our safety and with the amount of online hacking stories going round, we all can appreciate the effort and play our part.