Today is the global day of celebration for all things Internet safety. From humble beginnings in 2004, Safer Internet Day now includes 100 countries on every continent in the world.
The theme for 2016 is "Play your part for a better internet", and will see New Zealand organisations, including the Human Rights Commission, getting involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
The theme reminds us that we must all take responsibility - to play our part - in creating a better, richer, more civil online experience than the one we have today, especially for children and young people.
These are some of the ways in which everyone can make a contribution:
- Children and young people can help to create a better internet by being thoughtful and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations and by seeking positive opportunities to create, engage and share online.
- Parents and carers can help to create a better internet by maintaining an open dialogue with their children about their online lives, supporting them with their online activity, and seeking out positive opportunities to engage with their children online.
- Educators and social care workers can help to empower children and young people to embrace the positive by equipping them with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world, and giving them opportunities to use and create positive content online. They can help to respond to the negative by supporting young people if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the resilience, confidence and skills that young people need to navigate the internet safely.
- Industry has a role to play by creating and promoting positive content and services online and by empowering users to respond to any issues by providing clear safety advice, a range of easy-to-use safety tools, and quick access to support if things do go wrong.
- Decision makers and politicians need to develop the context in which all of the above can function and thrive, and continue to play a key role as we drive forward in creating a better internet for young people.
So, let's do our part and encourage our kids to do the same. Of course it helps if we are good digital role models and put our phones down at dinnertime and look up from our laptops when our kids are around.
Be the change you want to see in the world - both on and offline. And happy Safer Internet Day!
Safer Internet Day Resources
NetSafe has worked with NZ’s leading online companies to develop advice about staying safe online using their services. These resources are designed as “self-help” guides to promote positive action by individuals to improve their own online safety, as well as providing valuable support for those with duty of care responsibility. You can view the 'Staying safer online' resources here.
They have also published a resource that provides children, young people and parents with advice and strategies to support them in the event of sexting incidents. It promotes positive action by individuals to improve their own online safety, as well as providing valuable support for those with duty of care responsibility.
Learn how the SID New Zealand partners are working towards realising a safer internet here.