In 2004, the EU-funded SafeBorders project introduced Safer Internet Day, which has since been adopted worldwide as an annual celebration of digital safety. This year Safer Internet Day falls on Tuesday the 7th of February, with an educational focus on the theme “Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online”.
Safer Internet Day aims to promote the safe and responsible use of online technology by children and young people, while raising awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns. What started as a local action plan has blossomed into a world-wide digital event, being celebrated by millions of people in over 180 countries and territories.
Similar to the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”, it takes a safe and encouraging digital environment to produce a good digital citizen, therefore, it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they contribute to the digital world in a positive manner that ensures a better digital experience for everyone, especially younger users.
By now we all know that the internet is an invaluable tool for learning, research, and communication. However, with a world’s worth of information at our fingertips, there are bound to be risks that come along with it. Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of internet risks whilst taking steps to protect children and young people online.
It achieves this by calling for action from those responsible for providing and nurturing a positive online environment, namely:
- National law and policymakers
- Educators, parents, and guardians
- Civil society organizations
- Young people themselves
This year, the goal is to listen to young people and come closer to an answer for these questions:
- Which online issues really matter to young people?
- What changes would they like to see?
- How can we work together to advocate for these changes moving forward?
This years Safer Internet Day has the power to initiate important conversations that model the way we talk about and respond to internet issues. It can also be the emotional outlet that many people have been searching for. However, we need your help. Hopefully, this can be a conversation that continues year-round, instead of being a one-day thing.