The internet is the greatest learning resource in the history of the world. It is also an excellent source of entertainment. And we all spend many hours each week plugged into various online resources and services. But the reality is that there are still some dark corners of the internet which pose a risk to children.
To help raise awareness, and better prepare children for these potential dangers, a network of European Awareness Centres operates an annual Internet Safety Day. Part funded by the European Union, Internet Safety Day is celebrated every February in more than 150 countries across the world. This year, Internet Safety Day will be held on February 7th.
Malta – Schools-based safety training
Internet Safety Day invites local safety organizations and educators to teach children how to be safe online. Most of these activities take place in school and can take a variety of different forms. In Malta for instance, all children in year 3 at primary school will be given a copy of the book, Kiko and Manymes. In it they learn how to spot risky behavior and avoid harmful attention from online predators.
Younger children will also receive a book, The Angry Wolf, which covers similar issues. Schools are also being encouraged to organize their own events to strengthen the message – and to better protect their students – using a toolkit prepared by the Maltese government.
UK – Want to talk about it?
In the UK, Safer Internet Day activities will run under the theme ‘Want to talk about it?’. A series of resources will be sent to schools and colleges, asking students, educators and parents about how everyone can work together to make the internet safer. Ultimately, they hope to encourage conversations about life online.
USA – $1000 grants
In the USA, organizers hope to connect with as many children as possible on Safer Internet Day. They have organized grants of up to $1,000 to schools and community groups to help towards the purchase of supplies and other resources to enable local engagement with the program.
Australia – Connect. Reflect. Protect.
Australia has developed their own slogan, Connect. Reflect. Protect. Their activities will be focusing on ‘how to connect safely by keeping our apps and devices secure, and by using social media in a positive way. We can reflect by considering how our actions might affect others. And we can protect ourselves and others by taking action an reporting concerns’.
Spain – Online events
In Spain, Internet Safety Day will be marked by a series of online events. There will be two workshops run for children, focusing on how to build trust online – and to avoid sharing too much personal information with strangers. Older children will learn how to detect online scams and avoid falling victim to fraudulent websites.
As always, Safer Internet Day is an important opportunity to help children better protect themselves online. To learn more about the event and what is happening in your country, take a look at the official Safer Internet Day website.