The Parents' Guide to Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day is an annual event that promotes internet safety and digital literacy for children and young people around the world. It's been celebrated since 2004 and takes place on the second Tuesday in February - so this year it's on 7 February.
Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees thousands of organisations get involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. This year's theme is ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’. It aims to raise awareness of online safety and encourage parents to teach their children how to use the internet safely and responsibly.
The internet is a fabulous resource providing many opportunities for learning; however, there are risks too. Safer Internet Day helps to reinforce key messages about the importance of internet safety and responsible online behaviour. It's a chance for people to discuss emerging online issues, such as cyberbullying, internet fraud, inappropriate content and online privacy. Schools are encouraged to take part to help promote the safer use of digital technologies with activities including workshops, events, online discussions, and campaigns.
As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the risks that your child may face when using the internet. Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to talk to your teen about the importance of staying safe online, and to provide them with tools and resources that will help them do so.
Here are some tips for helping to keep your child safe online:
1. Educate Yourself:
Stay up-to-date on the latest online trends and technologies, so that you can better understand the risks your teen may face. Take time to explore internet safety tools and resources with your child, such as parental control settings and privacy settings.
2. Nurture Open Communication:
Establishing a trusting relationship with your teen is essential for maintaining a healthy dialogue about their online activities. Make sure they feel comfortable talking to you about what they’re doing online and their experiences. This may involve more listening than telling them what to do (and what not to do!) because if they feel you are going to be critical when they discuss something with you, they might stop communicating.
3. Set Clear Rules and Boundaries:
Set limits and rules for online activities, such as what sites they can visit, who they can talk to, and how much time they can spend online. Make sure your teen understands the rules and consequences for breaking them. Obviously, this is age sensitive, so start early to get them into good online habits when you are still able to influence their online activity. As they get older, you can still offer advice but it gets more difficult to enforce rules.
4. Monitor Their Activity:
Check in on your teen’s online activity from time to time. Pay attention to what websites or apps they are using, and the content they are viewing or sharing. If they're keen to hide their activity from you, there's a good chance they're doing something they know you wouldn't like!
5. Teach Good Digital Hygiene:
Help your teen understand the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation and the reality that their digital activity may remain permanently accessible - even if they've deleted texts/photos/apps. Check they understand the potential risks of sharing too much personal information.
6.Encourage Responsible Use of Social Media:
Talk to your teen about the potential risks of using social media, such as cyberbullying, online predators, identity theft, sexting, and scams.
7. Be a role model
Encourage your teen to be a responsible digital citizen by setting a good example yourself – don’t post things online that you wouldn't want them to do.
As parents, it's important to be aware of the potential risks and dangers our children may face while using the internet, and to take steps to protect them. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your teen has a safe and positive experience online and that they enjoy the wonderful wealth of experience online life can provide.
Find out what more you can do at home to help your teen create lifelong healthy habits and help them study in: The Parents' Guide to Homelife and study - GCSEs and The Parents' Guide to Homelife and study - sixth form
We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius - firstname.lastname@example.org