If there was ever a reminder to make sure we are playing it safe online then it’s Safer Internet Day. Held this year on Tuesday 10th February, this internationally recognised day is a great way of ensuring we are all up to date with emerging online issues. In 2015, Safe Internet Day’s focus will be ‘Let’s Create a Better Internet Together’.
Celebrated in over 100 countries globally, Safer Internet Day calls upon young people, parents, carers, teachers, companies and policymakers to join together to create a better internet. Ultimately creating a better Internet is up to us.
So what can we do as individuals to make a ‘better internet’? What are the top tips to share with our kids?
- Think Before You Post – Take a moment to think about what you will post before you press enter. Managing and protecting your online reputation should be the top priority in any online interaction. Don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want school principals and teachers, employers, family members or even strangers to see. Your online actions leave a permanent digital footprint – once it’s out there, it’s there forever!
- Look out for others online – If you can see someone being bullied or harassed online, step in. Encourage those involved in the conversations to cool down and stand up for those who are getting a hard time. Always report issues to the social media platform and if the issue includes a child, it might also be worth involving the school.
- Don’t Cyberbully – It’s easy to feel protected behind a computer screen – particularly when you can be anonymous online. It is essential that we treat others online like we would like to be treated ourselves. Encourage your kids not to inflame or ‘be mean’ online and not to tag friends in photos without permission.
- Protect Yourself Online – Ensure your privacy settings are up to date and active. Social media platforms often change their privacy policies with little notice, which may affect your own personal settings, so check in regularly to ensure your information is private. Also, ensure that your password is complex and changed regularly – it needs at least 8-10 characters with a combination of lower and upper case letter, symbols and numbers.
- Don’t Steal Information – Just because information is freely available online, doesn’t mean it can be used freely. Always acknowledge and reference a source. Ensure your kids don’t ‘cut and paste’ information for homework and projects – not only is this plagiarising and stealing, but a bad habit!
So, when you are madly driving your children from activity to activity or peeling the carrots – why not tell them about Safer Internet Day and ask them what they are doing to make the Internet a better place?
Hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their response. If not – revert to the above tips!