Safer Internet Day 2023: A Guide

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On the 7th February 2023, 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.

Adults and children must work together to create 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 2022, Safer Internet Day reached more young people than ever before, with 54% of UK children aged 8-17 hearing about the day, alongside 32% of UK parents and carers.

What is the focus of Safer Internet Day 2023?

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.

The online realms of gaming, video and social media are more and more important in children’s lives.

This year’s theme is ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’. The aim is to get parents, guardians, and teachers to take time to listen to children and young people and make positive change together. This year, they hope to answer the following questions:

  • What issues really matter to children and young people?
  • What changes do they want to see?
  • How can we all work together to advocate for them moving forward?

What are the best resources for Safer Internet Day 2023?

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

Moving forwards

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.

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