Next week, we will participate in the Annual Safer Internet Day, the UK’s biggest celebration of online safety. Each year, we cover an online issue or theme that speaks to the things young people are seeing and experiencing online. Safer Internet Day 2024 will take place on the 6th of February 2024, and on that day, the children will participate in activities based around the theme, ‘Inspiring change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online’.
This year, Safer Internet Day will be focusing on change online, including covering:
- Young people’s perspective on new and emerging technology
- Using the Internet to make change for the better
- The changes young people want to see online
- The things that can influence and change the way young people think, feel and act online and offline
In preparation, please find below some top tips and a range of further support that parents and carers may find useful. The videos can be watched with your child to help kick-start a discussion.
Top Tips For Parents and Carers
These top tips have been written for you (parents and carers) to help you support your child in staying safe and happy online and to share, and talk about, with your children. It’s never too early to talk about life online!
Inspire change by modelling how to be safe online.
Just like in their offline lives, children need role models online, too. Set transparent and fair expectations about how the whole family should use the Internet and technology, and demonstrate these yourself. A Family Agreement is a great way to start conversations and put your ideas down on paper to refer back to later and adapt as your child and your family’s internet use changes.
Make a difference by having regular discussions about the online world.
Having regular and open conversations with your child about their use of technology and the Internet is the best way to stay up to date, not only with changes in the online world but also with what they are doing and seeing online. Starting these conversations can sometimes feel daunting, but they can help you feel more informed and show your child that you are interested in their online life.
Manage influence by researching the content and games your child enjoys the most.
Giving young people the opportunity to talk about their lives online and enjoy online content together can be a great way to gain insight into the content they view.
Navigate change by knowing where to go for further support.
If your child needs help, you must know where to go for further support. Using the report and block buttons, websites such as ‘Report Harmful Content’ and other safety tools are great starting points. Discussing any concerns or worries with your child’s school can also be useful, as they can offer further advice and guidance. It can also help to talk to other parents and carers who may have experienced something similar.
For Parents and Carers of under 7s
Inspire change by spending time online together
As your child starts to spend more time online and on devices, there will be opportunities for them to interact with others, make decisions and see a wide variety of content. Spending time with your child online together is an important part of them learning how they should behave and what to do if they are ever worried, upset or unsure about something on the Internet.
Make a difference by having regular discussions about the online world
As your child learns about the Internet, they will likely have lots of thoughts and questions. Having regular discussions with your child gives them opportunities to tell you about the things they like doing online, as well as any concerns and worries they may have. A great time to have these conversations is whilst you are spending time online as a family.
Manage influence by being aware of the different things which engage your child online
Your child might be influenced by a range of different things when online, such as exciting adverts, their favourite characters, and even by their friends. Not all influence online is negative, but it is important to be aware of what is engaging your child online and the impact this could have on them as they get older. Balance online influences with your own and your child’s thoughts by talking about what they see and hear.
Navigate change by having a clear picture of your child’s developing interests
As your child grows up, their interests and hobbies will constantly change, and the things they are doing online are no different. Something they liked yesterday may be something they’ve lost interest in today. It is important to be curious and stay up to date with the games, apps and sites they are using and the safety settings available, so that you can help keep them safe as they start to explore the online world more.