Safer Internet Day 2023
Conversations about life online
Tuesday 7 February 2023 was Safer Internet Day, organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre and based around the theme "Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online."
Mr Young, Assistant Head of Ethics and Computing, delivered Safer Internet assemblies to all year groups during the week, with the aim of encouraging our young people to have the confidence to discuss what they have seen online. Pupils are encouraged to share their experience online with a trusted adult, such as their teacher, tutor, Year Leader, family member or charity, for example Childline.
‘I think it’s vital that children talk to their parents about the nature of the Internet and what pupils are routinely being exposed to online.’ Year 10 pupil
Equally, adults need to improve their own understanding of how to be safe online and young people can play a vital role in educating their elders. Research commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre reveals more than half (57%) of young people believe they can help educate parents or carers on internet harms. Read more...
Mr Young also addressed the issues of sources of information online, focusing on influencers. An influencer is a person who has an authoritative voice on social media. There are an estimated 85 million recognised ‘influencers’ in the world and over 82% of UK influencers have their biggest followings on Instagram and/or TikTok. Some influencers use their platform to spread positive and supportive messages; however, this does not apply to all. Unfortunately, over the last 3 months, there has been a huge rise in influencers using misogynistic and discriminatory language in their posts. Misogyny has been defined by the Oxford dictionary as: “the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.” Some misogynistic videos have reached as many as 11 million viewers on social media platforms, meaning these particular views and opinions could potentially be influencing the minds of 11 million people. Crucially, many of these viewers are under the age of 18 and, for many of them, their opinions are still being formed; making this particularly dangerous. If you hear any misogynistic or discriminatory language, please talk about it. Work together to stamp it out.
‘It is important that you communicate with someone you trust about your online experience, because the problem with the internet is that anyone can say anything good or bad!’ Year 10 pupil
The former international footballer John Barnes, who is a father of seven, talks about how important it is to be on hand to have conversations about online safety with your children – even if you don’t necessarily have all the answers. Read more...
The Safer Internet Centre has some conversation starter suggestions you might find useful:
- Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online. What games do you and your friends like to play online? Can you show me the websites you visit the most? Shall we play your favourite game online together?
- Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
- Ask them if they know where to go for help. Where can they go to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use?
- Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?
The Gloucestershire Constabulary's Schoolbeat team created a video for Safer Internet Day 2023, promoting conversation between parents and families. Parents and carers have a key role in keeping their young people safe online. Schoolbeat tips include: lights out, screen off; keep talking; private info stays private; limit social audiences; demonstrate good habits; watch for excessive gaming; focus on facts. Members of the Schoolbeat team come into schools across the county and deliver lessons to pupils in Key Stage 3 about grooming and drugs, including alcohol (Year 7), sexting and exploitation (Year 8), domestic abuse and county lines (Year 9). You can watch the Schoolbeat video below:
Safer Internet Day provides a great opportunity to have conversations about our online lives, reminding us to be good digital role models, as well as going on a learning journey to brush up on our own knowledge of how to stay safe online.
Head of Ethics and Computing