Happy Safer Internet Day everyone! Celebrated globally for the 14th consecutive year, today’s event offers the opportunity to promote the positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
The internet is now such an integral part of our everyday lives, and the rate of technological progress so great, it’s easy to take for granted just how much and how quickly the world we live in has changed.
And while the internet has unquestionably been a force for good, it’s important to recognise it can pose dangers and that we all have a shared responsibility to make it as secure a place as possible.
Safer Internet Day aims to do just that by bringing together individuals and organisations (including schools, charities, businesses and even Premier League football clubs) together to raise awareness of protecting children online; this is done by running events and activities right across the UK.
As a founding member of Internet Matters – an organisation dedicated to keeping children safe in the digital world – Sky is committed to taking on a leading role when it comes to e-safety issues and what can be done to tackle them.
The slogan of this year’s extravaganza is Be the change: Unite for a better internet, with participants urged to get involved and focus on exploring the power of image – both for positive and negative – in digital youth culture.
Latest research shows just how central digital technology has become to the lives of young people; on average children claim to spend at least three hours a day online, while the internet has overtaken television as the top media pastime for the UK’s youngsters.
Social media is a huge part of that digital shift with children as young as 11 now posting an average of 26 times a day on the networks of their choice.
But the statistics do reveal some troubling trends with 4 out of 10 children admitting to removing privacy setting to attract more friends and 48% of secondary school pupils communicating with people they don’t know when using social media.
So while the modern-day selfie fad may seem harmless enough, it’s not difficult to understand how the need for social media acceptance and popularity amongst peers can lead on to worrying problems such as self-esteem issues and sexting.
This is where education and engagement can prove crucial and we all have a part to play, from parents to teachers, technology companies to the children themselves.
Safer Internet Day is a really meaningful yet simple way to make a difference and we know from past experience the kind of impact it has.
Last year the event reached 2.8 million UK children and 2.5 million UK parents, with the majority going on to speak to their families about staying safe digitally and feeling more confident about confronting any worries online.
It goes without saying that there are some prominent social media initiatives to get involved with this year, including the Safer Internet Day thunderclap, the #giveasmile campaign and the internet safety emoji charades game.
So why not spread the word amongst friends and loved ones and help make Safer Internet Day 2017 the biggest and best yet. Use the hashtag #SID2017 or if you’re feeling adventurous you can post a #giveasmile selfie… go on, be the change!