Safer Internet Day seeks to create a protected and secure online environment that promotes responsible practice from users. Each year the day focuses on a prevalent issue that is plaguing youth varying from things such as social networking and cyberbullying. In the past year they focused on online rights and responsibilities as they encouraged Internet users to be aware of what is respectful and what is not.
What's it all about?
This year’s focus comes along with the tagline “let’s create a better internet together.” The campaign advises adolescents to foster a positive environment by respecting themselves and others online. They are asked to report any cyberbullying, illegal content and offensive. Most important of all, Safer Internet Day wants children to make their voices heard and become a part of future developments.
It also seeks to advice parents and guardians by being open and honest with their children about the possibilities of the Internet, both good and bad. Parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s usage and contribute to their learning process.
Creating digital literacy
Digital literacy is a large component of Internet safety and asks educators to go above and beyond and provide their students with opportunities to use and create content online. By giving them the skills to learn and preparing them for potential issues, educators can help enable a positive environment where students are informed and aware.
The Internet Industry itself must also take action and make sites accessible yet secure and responsive when users request that offensive material must be removed. It can demonstrate ethical behavior through the practice of removing illegal content and making it harder for young audiences to gain access to this material.
Making it possible
Safer Internet Day is organized by the combined Insafe/INHOPE network, which is supported by the European Commission. Each year thousands of events are hosted across hundreds of countries to raise awareness of online safety issues. Since its origins, the focus has transitioned from creating a safer Internet to creating a better Internet. It gained official recognition in the U.S. in late 2012 with a joint agreement between the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a better Internet for youth. ConnectSafely.org manages the coordinating for the U.S. as they move forward.
All of the events and movements are made possible with support of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Sprint, Trend Micro and Twitter. SaferInternetDay.us asks participants through posting in the One Good Thing forum that documents spreading kindness and awareness that makes the web a better place. Further participation can be done through hosting a One Good Thing Party where stories are shared in person and more ideas are discussed. Libraries, schools and community centers can organize a Teens Teach Tech night where teens teach adults about smart devices and the possibilities within the web. Finally, those partaking are encouraged to spread the word through discussion and social media using hashtags such as #SID2014 and #OneGoodThing.