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‘I’m not sure, let’s google it’ is probably one of the most used phrases in today’s world. Within seconds you can find out where exactly your train/bus/flight is and whether it is delayed. Connecting with friends and family across the world has never been easier or quicker. Within a few clicks, swipes and taps we can find the answers we need, order tonight’s dinner or send a long-lost friend a message. And whilst it is astonishing and makes our lives extremely convenient, staying safe online is as important as ever.
The internet, and the way we use it, has changed drastically in the last five to ten years. Not only do we have an entirely different relationship with it than before, but it is also apparent that the way the varying generations of our society interact with the internet differs. Children and young people have a very different interaction with the internet than those older than them. Only recently in Croydon there were concerns with the ways in which pupils were using Snapchat, an app that many adults may not even have heard of!
It is these gaps that Safer Internet Day is trying to bridge. Celebrated globally in over one hundred countries, the day is about joining together across society to create a better internet. This year’s slogan ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: a better internet starts with you’ encourages collaboration, embraces how being online has changed our lives day to day but most importantly promotes staying safe online and positive use of digital technology, especially for children and young people.
UK Safer Internet Centre is one of the founding partners behind the day and has some useful advice and resources on its website about staying safe online and how we can promote the positive use of the internet. It particularly highlights how we are all responsible for promoting safe use of the internet, not just for ourselves, but those around us and we all have different roles to play:
Children and young people: Can help to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online by protecting their own reputations (and those of others), and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online.
Parents and Carers: play a crucial role in empowering and supporting children to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively, whether it is by ensuring an open dialogue with their children, educating them to use technology safely and positively, or by acting as digital role models.
Teachers, educators and social workers: Can help to create a better internet by equipping their pupils and students with digital literacy skills and by developing their critical thinking skills, which will allow them to better navigate the online world. They can empower them to create their own content, make positive choices online and can set a personal example of online behaviour for their pupils and students.
With this in mind, we asked Michelle Graydon from Octavo Governance, and one of Octavo’s Safeguarding experts, to share her top tips on how children and young people can stay safe online:
For more updates and guidance on keeping children and young people safe at your school or education setting, join our next Safeguarding Forum on 01 March, 09:30 – 12:30. Click here to book and for more information.
48% of teachers surveyed after Safer Internet Day 2017 said it led to disclosures of potential safeguarding issues online. UK Safer Internet Centre
UK Safer Internet Centre