Safer Internet Day 2022
Exploring respect and relationships online
In 2022 our Ethics and Computing Faculty in Focus coincided with Safer Internet Day. The 2022 Safer Internet Day (Tuesday 8 February) theme is ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online.’
During the previous week, pupils had an Ethics and Computing Faculty in Focus virtual assembly, created by ICT Teacher Mr Young, focusing on staying safe online and the role of young people in fostering supportive relationships and respectful communities online.
Pupils were encouraged to think about all the positives of being online and gaming with others, such as fun, entertainment, escapism, competition and interacting with people from all over the world. The key message was all about being respectful.
Pupils were asked to reflect on some of the statistics: 74% chat with other people when playing games, 67% chat to people they know outside of the game, but 22% chat to people they only know through the game.
The latter statistic reminds us how important it is to consider the potential dangers of who you meet online.
You can earn or lose respect by your behaviour within a game.
Does gaming provide an equal playing field?
Gamers frequently hide behind an avatar and whilst this may allow for a certain level of equality and anonymity, people sometimes behave and react differently when not face-to-face.
Are you likely to accept a friend request from someone you don't know on a game or on social media? There is always a risk to accepting a request from someone you don't know. When chatting with players you don't know, or whom you only know online, always consider the following:
- Be wary of how much personal information you share, particularly any details that might allow them to contact you away from the game or find you offline.
- Remember that, regardless of how well you might feel you know someone, not everyone online is who they say they are. It is very risky to agree to meet up offline.
- If another player says anything or asks you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, then that is not OK. You need to be able to tell a trusted adult.
Whilst you might not recognise the term online disinhibition, you will almost certainly know that some people comment negatively whilst gaming. For example ‘Shut up! Loser’, ‘You are rubbish’, 'Die!', ‘I didn’t want to be on your team anyway’ etc. Online anonymity through an avatar is not an excuse to be disrespectful. It is not banter.
Watch this video from the UK Safer Internet Centre:
Ultimately, most people enjoy and gain much from gaming but remember to be respectful. These pointers are relevant for all online spaces:
- Treat everyone with respect. Own your behaviour and apologise if you upset someone;
- Look out for people who are being badly treated - offer them support and check if they are ok.
- Speak up and remind people that going online should be enjoyable;
- Report any hate speech or bullying behaviours;
- Block people who spread that negativity.
'Last week's assembly was amazing because it explained internet safety and why it is important to be safe while online. It was also helpful because it explained some of the dangers of online gaming and social media, like being rude and making hurtful comments. The assembly told us what to do in this situation.' Isabelle
Our tutor groups were encouraged to make Safer Internet Day pledges, and here are some examples:
(7DE) We have a tutor group Whatsapp group. When this was first set up there were some arguments that took place on this group. This has stopped happening now. We pledge to keep this group as a space where we can send messages and be respectful to each other.
(10TU) We pledge to only write positive comments online - no negative ones.
(10NI) As a tutor group, we pledge to report bullying and discrimination online.
Miss Hope, Head of Ethics and Computing, concludes her piece on Safer Internet Day with this comment: "Happy gaming but remember to show respect and keep safe. All our young people need to understand what constitutes respectful behaviour, both online and offline."
- Safer Internet Day: Advice for 11-18 year olds
- Safer Internet Day: Advice for Parents and Carers
- Safer Internet Centre