Here’s a question for all you parents with young kids: do you let your children spend time online? If so, how do you help them use the Internet productively? Aren’t you scared that they will get exposed to inappropriate content when you’re not there to watch them? And yes, we know that we didn’t just ask one question; but can you blame us when we’re just a day late in celebrating Safer Internet Day?
Safer Internet Day: What is it?
Observed in nearly 100 countries around the world, Safer Internet Day (SID) is organized by Insafe, a European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people. Since 2004, SID has taken place annually on the second day of the second week of February. The tenth edition of the event, SID 2013, had Online Rights and Responsibilities for its theme with the tagline “Connect with Respect.” This year, it was celebrated February 5; and it should be noted that Google participated by updating its “Good To Know” site.
Now for those of you who, like us, missed the festivities, don’t worry. We can all prep for the next SID by following the tips below.
Reach out to those who may not be Internet-savvy.
We’re going to assume that you have enough web smarts to not give away passwords to your email and social networking accounts, and that you know enough, as Google puts it, to stay safe online. In which case, you’re in the perfect position to help those (especially children) who may not fully comprehend that the Internet is also populated by people who don’t have the purest of intentions. In anticipation of SID 2014, perhaps you could write a blog post on how to not fall prey to online scams or maybe post relevant links so that your Facebook friends or Twitter followers can keep themselves informed on how to better manage their information online. If you have kids or young siblings, cousins, or friends, make sure that you talk to them about the dangers posed by the Internet. Also, don’t forget to use filtering software to block inappropriate sites.
Practice what you preach.
It’s going to be difficult convincing others to adopt safe Internet practices if you, yourself, don’t take steps to protect your data. We’re talking about using anti-virus software, protecting computers with firewalls, and regularly downloading security protection update “patches.” Remember also to choose passwords that do not hint at sensitive information like your social security number, your date of birth, your telephone/voicemail number, or your spouse/child/pet’s name. These are basic tips for safe computing that every Internet user – veteran or otherwise – should know and review once in a while or as needed.
Find out how SID is going to be celebrated in your country.
www.saferinternetday.org, the official website of SID, lists down the countries that participate in the event. If, however, your country is not on the list and you are part of an organization that advocates the same goals, you cans send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that the guys and gals from Insafe can coordinate and set up a Safer Internet Day Committee where you live. Now, if you are residing in a country that already participates in SID, you just need to visit the official site and check back from time to time to keep posted on the activities that your local SID committee have planned or are planning. Of course, the best way to get ready for SID 2014 is to make some noise about it and encourage your friends to join in on the festivities as well.