Tuesday the 5th of February 2019 is Safer Internet Day. This day is celebrated in over 130 countries globally and is starting to make its mark on Australia.
Why should we celebrate it?
It's 2019! My goodness, technology has come a really long way since the internet was first widely used. I remember when I was in Primary School, we had computer labs specifically designed for computer usage, but we didn't use them that often. We didn't learn word processing skills at school, we still did everything by hand. I didn't get a computer at home that could be successfully used outside of a dos system until I was in Year 7. That was when we got internet at home. And the dangers of the internet were not known at all.
Today, our children can access the internet ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. They can connect with ipods even, and many children have their own mobile phones or ipad/tablet systems that they can take everywhere with them. With the increase of internet usage, there has been an increase of information available to students to ensure that they can protect themselves online. But still more needs to be done.
Of course, safer internet day isn't just something we need to be aware of on one day of the year, it is something that we need to make our children aware of EVERY SINGLE DAY.
This year's campaign slogan is "Together for a better internet" and it clearly highlights that it isn't just our children's responsibility or parents' responsibility to make the internet safer..... But everyone. Including the large stakeholders in social networking and websites.
In Australia, the campaign slogan has been extended to include the 4Rs of online safety:
- RESPECT - I treat myself and others the way I like to be treated.
- RESPONSIBILITY - I am accountable for my actions and I take a stand when I feel something is wrong.
- REASONING - I question what is real.
- RESILIENCE - I get back up from tough situations.
With the rise of technology, we need to keep our children safe, not just from predators, but from each other as well and I think that this year's 4Rs of online safety, really gets into respecting one another and realising that not everything that is online is the truth, or real. Self esteem building and bullying seem to be a massive focus in creating positive experiences when online.
The local PCYC are holding an information session on Tuesday at 7pm about how to keep everyone safe on the internet.
Can't make it? Here are our tips at Breakaway Tuition on how to provide support, responsible use and extra safety measures when it comes to the internet and our children.
- Make sure you keep your passwords safe.
We need login details and passwords for everything now days. It is super important that we keep our information safe and not give these out to anyone - including friends!
- Make sure you use computers in main locations within the home. Think the kitchen or dining room. These are the best places for children to be completing homework tasks on the internet because it means that as parents, you can watch what they are looking at and getting onto. Try and keep phones and ipad/tablet devices out of bedrooms as well.
- Know your child's passwords and what social sites they are using and monitor their use of these. It is so easy to trust our children and hope they are using these sites responsibly, but at the end of the day, they are still children and need guidance.
- Teach your children the laws around internet usage. This is super important. Teach them what happens to content that is posted online. Teach them about being careful with what they say online about themselves and others. Teach them the importance of respectful relationships online and on social media apps like facebook, instagram, snapchat and others.
- Teach them about resilience. How to maintain a strong identity for themselves and continue to get up, even when they are hurt. Resilience online has become a large issue because we are bombarded with content that is not realistic every single day. Teach them to be strong in who they are, and help them to celebrate the things that make them special and unique. Teach them that you don't need to be stick thin and enjoy eating kale to be worthy of everything life has to offer. That we are all unique and should be celebrated as this.
- Monitor the amount of time your child is using the internet, computer games and online communication with others.
- Set up meal times where there are no phones and computers and engage them in face to face interactions with family and friends.
- Make sure your children have no computer time (including phones, video games and other devices that emit blue light) at least 1 hour before they go to bed. This will help their body realise that it is time to wind down and go to sleep. It helps the mind to relax and allows quality rest and restoration for the new day.
I also think that with days like "Safer Internet Day" you need to teach children that there is life outside of computers and the internet. We need to keep our children's face to face communication skills alive and kicking. We need to emphasise the importance of life and reality that occurs offline. We also need to help them realise the potency of online interactions and continual use of technology.
Let's work together to make internet usage safer for EVERYONE!
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