June is a special month that celebrates the vibrancy and potential of our youth. Along with Youth Month, we also celebrate Internet Safety Month, which highlights the importance of online safety. As we commemorate both Youth Month and Internet Safety Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge the role the internet plays in the lives of young people. With technology shaping the way we live, learn, and communicate, it’s imperative that we equip our children with the necessary tools to navigate the digital world safely.

Youth Month is a time when we recognize the energy, resilience, and potential of young people. It serves as a reminder of the significant contributions they make to society and the challenges they face along the way. We need to empower the youth by providing them with opportunities for growth, education, and a safe environment, both offline and online.

In a world where information is readily accessible, the internet offers incredible opportunities for learning, connecting, and self-expression. However, it also presents risks that can compromise the safety and well-being of young people. Internet Safety Month aims to raise awareness about these risks and promote responsible digital citizenship.

As the phrase goes: it takes a village. Therefore, ensuring the safety of children in the online realm requires a collaborative effort from parents, caregivers, educators, and society as a whole.

Establishing an open and honest dialogue with your children about the importance of internet safety is the first step to ensuring a healthy space where your kids feel safe enough to share their online experiences and concerns with you.

Clear guidelines for internet usage, including appropriate websites, screen-time limits, and rules for sharing personal information can help caregivers and young people come to an agreement on digital device usage. Utilising parental control tools and software to monitor and filter content may also be necessary for younger users. Platforms such as CyberSharp Protect can assist in doing just that.

Educate children about online risks, such as the importance of protecting their privacy, the dangers of cyberbullying, and the potential consequences of sharing sensitive information. Help them develop critical thinking skills so they can evaluate the reliability of online sources and be able to discern fact from fiction.

Ethical online behaviour, including treating others with respect and being kind to others, is a crucial part of responsible digital citizenship. Teach children to think before posting or sharing anything that could be harmful or hurtful to others. To help with this, ensure that they’re aware of the THINK rule:

T – is it truthful?

H – is it helpful?

I – is it inspiring?

N – is it necessary?

K – is it kind?

Being a digital role model means that you lead by example and practice responsible online behaviour yourself. Show your children how to use social media, engage with others respectfully, and protect their own privacy.

Youth Month and Internet Safety Month serve as essential reminders of the potential of our youth and the importance of their safety in the digital world. By equipping children with the necessary knowledge and skills to surf the web safely, we can empower them to make informed decisions, foster healthy relationships, and pursue their passions. Let us embrace this month as an opportunity to celebrate our young people and work together to create a safer and more inclusive online environment for all.