Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
On the 8th February 2022, 200 countries all over the world will come together to celebrate Safer Internet Day. To help you prepare for this, whether you’re a parent or an education professional, we’ve put together a brief guide. We’ll explore the origins and intentions of Safer Internet Day, this year’s focus, how you can navigate it alongside your children and some general advice.
What is Safer Internet Day?
Beginning life as an offshoot of the 2004 EU SafeBorders Project, this day is now celebrated within a network of Safer Internet Centres in around 200 countries and territories worldwide. It promotes the responsibility of both young people and adults in creating a safer online environment.
The ethos of this celebration is raising awareness of emerging issues affecting young people on the Internet. It covers everything from the now conventionally-known cyberbullying to the new concept of digital identity and how young people are taught to present themselves on the Internet.
One of the priorities of this movement is to get children involved and thinking about the Internet, whether it be in school or at home. In 2021, 51% of British schoolchildren aged 8-17 were aware of or involved in the celebration.
What is the focus of Safer Internet Day 2022?
Childhood has, for good or bad, become inexorably intertwined with the Internet.
In 2019, 8-year old Ryan Kaji made $26 million from his YouTube channel. Young teenagers have for some time felt inferior to social influencers. Children can even compare themselves increasingly harshly to the blemishless, impeccably-designed ‘virtual influencers’ or CGI TikTokers.
It’s vital to understand that the Internet can be an all-encompassing universe for children. With that in mind, this year’s theme is ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online’. The aim is to teach children the responsibility on themselves and others to foster a kind, respectful culture within online gaming, chat and video worlds.
What are the best resources for Safer Internet Day 2022?
The best UK-based resource for Safer Internet Day is the UK Safer Internet Centre. The website has a number of resource packs and films, categorised by age range and suitability. You can also find plenty of quizzes, games, reports and guides on the international page for Safer Internet Day.
Some general advice
Whether you’re happy about it or not, all young children will grow up with the Internet as a pillar of their daily lives. Consequently, it’s never too late to start instilling good Internet ethics in them from a young age. Here are a few areas to tackle and talk about on Safer Internet Day:
- Kindness and respect
- Strangers on the internet
- How and to whom they can voice their concerns
- Information and privacy
- Peer pressure from others and themselves
- The block and/or report buttons
Hopefully, this short article has given you a general understanding of what Safer Internet Day is and how you can help children engage with it successfully. In doing so, you will protect them and teach them skills that will inevitably be necessary as they grow up.