Internet Safety Day 2022
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Internet Safety Day 2022 | by Wayne McCullough, CENMAC Advisory Teacher
On the 8 February 2022 this year, we highlight the need to recognise the importance of Online Safety. This event is held every year in February with a focus on a particular theme, and this year’s theme is “All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online”.
Internet Safety Day challenges not just young people, but everyone to think about their online presence to ensure that the relationships they have online are positive, healthy and respectful.
The Internet is truly an amazing resource which allows us to be connected to friends and family all over the world. We are able to play online games, publish blogs and produce interactive content to share with others and because of this we need to remember to be respectful towards others and be aware about the relationships we have online when playing games or using social media.
As social media continues to grow, it can help us to stay in touch, raise awareness about important issues and connect us to the things we love. It is more important than ever that we teach young people the importance of fostering supportive and respectful relationships when online, whilst ensuring they have the skills to keep themselves safe.
Internet Safety Day challenges not just young people, but everyone to think about their online presence to ensure that the relationships they have online are positive, healthy and respectful. The past two years have been challenging for most people, and has changed the way we work and learn. The internet has helped so many stay connected with their school, friends and family which wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago. New technology such as video streaming have allowed us to interact with others, especially during lockdown which has been a positive experience for most people.
It is important to remember that with new and emerging technologies, there are always safety issues we need to address to young people, which have been an issue for sometime; we always need to remember to show respect towards everyone, be mindful of the language we use and encourage anyone to share anything which may be upsetting.
As teachers’ we always need to support young people to address these issues, to help them understand what is respectful behaviour when online, and what to do if something goes wrong.
Here are four key tips to think about to ensure that the Internet is a better place for everyone:
- Be responsible – Make sure to use safe websites and if you have any concerns/questions speak to an adult who trust. Report anything which doesn’t look right.
- Be respectful – Be kind online! Treat everyone with respect. We are all different.
- Be critical – Remember not to believe everything you read/see online.
- Be creative – Create content which teaches others and to help to raise awareness. The internet can help us to learn a new skill.
When something does go wrong, there are a few things we can do to help. Speak to a trusted adult about what has happened and always save any unkind messages or content as proof of what has happened. Social media sites have features which allow to block and report anyone who sends unkind or inappropriate messages and content. These tools are here to help keep you safe.
There are different ways you can take part in Internet Safety Day, you can create a class charter for positive use, design an avatar to use online, creating a poster to raise awareness, researching your favourite animal or hobby.
There are some wonderful activities on the Safer Internet website, which can be accessed using the following link: saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day
There is a really good search engine, which is designed with students in mind, called ‘Swiggle’ swiggle.org.uk. Results are visually displayed making it easier to carry out different searches for their learning and finding the information they need.
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