Safer Internet Day 2022: Staying safe online
Safer Internet Day inspires a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively.
What is Safer Internet Day?
Each year, Safer Internet Day explores a new issue or theme which is impacting the lives of young people in the UK. For 2022 the theme is ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online’. Celebrating young people’s role in creating a safer internet and the ways they are shaping the interactive entertainment spaces they are a part of.
The platforms young people use are spaces for connection, community and collaboration, which is why the Day challenges them to foster supportive relationships and respectful communities, whilst equipping them with the skills they need to keep themselves and others safe in these spaces.
These platforms play such an important and positive role, providing young people with the means to interact with friends and as a great pastime, particularly during lockdowns.
However, there are some emerging safety issues in these spaces as well as issues young people have been navigating for some time; particularly the lack of respect individuals display towards each other, groups ‘ganging up’ against other groups, and the sense that it is easy to ‘get away’ with negative behaviour such as meanness, bullying and swearing.
Here are Safer Internet Day’s Top Tips for Parents and Carers:
- Having conversations without judgement.
Whether by playing games, watching videos, or doing things your child enjoys, spending time together online is a great way to start conversations about the online world and how they’re finding being a part of it. It is important to ask questions and take an interest in what your child enjoys online.
An essential part of having this open dialogue is to not judge, even if their behaviour or life online isn’t what you wanted or expected. This ensures that your child feels they can come to you if ever they make a mistake or experience a problem online.
- Knowing where you can learn more about their favourite apps and games.
Websites like Common Sense Media or The Family Gaming Database can be invaluable sources of information. When your child starts talking about a new game or app, why not do some research into the reporting and blocking options available? Then you can help your child if they come to you with an issue.
- Reassuring your child that whatever happens online, you are there to support them.
Let your child know that the best way to address any problem they have online, is to tell a trusted adult immediately. For example, this might include someone sending them a friend request; an online message; telling them to visit a specific website, or app; or asking them for their personal information. Reassure them that if anything happens online that they are unsure about, or makes them feel worried or upset, they can come to you for help.
- Getting support if things go wrong.
There are lots of organisations who are there to support you and your family if something has gone wrong. The Report Harmful Content website can help you with issues such as cyberbullying, impersonation and threats. You can report worrying behaviour towards children to CEOP. Find out more on Childnet’s Get Help page.
Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, Safer Internet Day is now celebrated by children, young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, industry, decision-makers and politicians from over 170 countries.