Guest Blog from Tim Pinto who runs ‘The E-Safety Office’
Safer Internet Day takes place on Tuesday 11th February and aims to create both a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.
The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, as well as industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet.
The theme for SID 2020 is #freetobe and looks at whether children and young people have the freedom to be who they want to be on the internet. With the rise of cyberbullying, online hate and trolling, the internet can be a place where people find it hard to be themselves. Children will be working with their teachers on the 11th February to examine how they can be safe online and how to be resilient in the face of online hostility.
SID 2020 comes at a time when we are seeing an increasing number of children using technology. OFCOM released their latest report (Children’s Media Use and Attitudes report 2019) earlier this month. This research highlights the media habits of children using technology and gives a picture of how they are embracing the internet. It highlighted the following:
50% of 10 year olds own their own smartphone. This is seen as an important age when children develop their digital independence.
27% of children now use smart speakers e.g. Amazon Alexa
Almost half of girls aged five to 15 now play games online – up from 39% in 2018
Children are now increasingly drawn to so-called ‘micro’ or ‘nano’ influencers. These may not be a s popular as some of the higher profile vloggers, but they might be local to a child’s area or share a niche interest.
43% of 11 year olds have a social media profile.
Safer Internet Day can be a useful opportunity for parents to discuss online safety issues with their children. It is important that they know which trusted adults outside schools they can talk to, if they feel worried about something that happens online. In addition, parents may want to look at setting up parental controls on the devices their children use. A really useful website to do this is: https://www.internetmatters.org/
However, the most useful advice is to set up ‘Digital Family Time’. This is putting aside some time each month to sit down and look at what your child is doing online and let them explain the types of activities they enjoy. It will give you the opportunity to find out about their online world and help you understand more about their digital lives.