As Safer Internet Day approaches, Young NCB's Grace Garbutt call for both online safety and the freedom to enjoy the internet's benefits.
This year's Safer Internet Day will take place on Tuesday 10th February. The theme is: “Let’s create a better Internet together.”
It's an international event that aims to raise the awareness of the ways in which we, as children and young people, can protect ourselves from dangers online, while, at the same time, continuing to enjoy every good thing the Internet has to offer.
Safer Internet Day is not about making us do our maths homework by using shock tactics to stop us procrastinating on Facebook; it's about becoming more “street-wise” and using our time online productively.
As a rule, we should all be applying the same levels of respect towards each other in the virtual world as I hope we are doing in society, while bearing in mind the dangers of trusting strangers with our personal details.
It is important that children are taught to realise new friends online may not be who they claim to be.
Safer Internet Day is also about the importance of getting parents and teachers involved in conversations about content that is unsuitable, that may be damaging to young minds.
It is vital that parents know how to report their concerns to the police if their child has been inappropriately approached. Safer Internet Day provides this information.
Thankfully, stories in the media about succumbing to dangers online are relatively rare, but raising the awareness about staying safe is still needed.
It is evident that 40% of Internet users between the ages of 18-35 have regretted posting personal information and images of themselves in areas such as Snapchat. As well as being dangerous, it has proven to be embarrassing and has led to bullying.
Creating a better Internet together is about ensuring it can be used safely by all generations. It is about continuing to reap the rewards of innovation, bridging barriers to isolation, life-long learning, finding jobs and forming new and safe friendships.
The Internet has a huge potential to bring people together for the common good. Let's learn to stay safe together!
You can find out more and download information sheets by following this link: www.saferinternet.org
Grace Gurbutt - Young NCB member