Today – 11 February 2020 – marks Safer Internet Day which is annual celebration of the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
Safer Internet Day is a global event which is coordinated in the UK by the Safer Internet Centre. The Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading organisations: Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL with a shared mission to promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people
The aim of Safer Internet Day is to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore ways in which to create a better and safer online community. It also seeks to enable young people to feel more confident about what to do if they are worried about something online.
The global theme for Safer Internet Day is “Together for a better internet”, with this year’s UK campaign entitled “Free to be me.” This will look at how young people manage their online identity, experiment and express themselves.
Safer Internet Day aims to see millions of young people, schools, and organisations across the UK explore online safety and the theme of ‘free to be me’.
It is supported by the Government, schools, charities, the police, football clubs and celebrities some of whom are hosting events to promote discussion on the safe, responsible and positive use of technology. There are also a number of online quizzes and top tips designed to ensure young people are well equipped to keep themselves safe and report any online concerns that they might have.
For Safer Internet Day 2020, the UK Safer Internet Centre has also launched a report into how young people manage, curate and navigate their online identity.
The research reveals young people’s online experiences are an essential part of who they are offline, with 38% saying it’s easier to be themselves online than offline.
Some young people, however, feel a pressure to shape their online identity for others and certain groups including BAME and LGBT young people are being targeted with identity-based hate. For example 25% of 13-17-year olds say they have been targeted with online hate in the last month because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability or gender identity, with 45% of disabled teens and 32% of BAME teens reporting this.
The internet provides a rich source of information and entertainment for young people however it also brings with it potential dangers and risks such as bullying and exploitation. Events such as this seek to help to ensure that young people are protected and educated on appropriate and responsible usage.
Written by Nicholas Leigh at BLM