5 Simple Things To Keep In Mind As We Recognize Safer Internet Day

Everyone can play a role in making the online world a better place.

February 11, 2020

Photo by kali9

Photo by kali9

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Safer Internet Day (SID) is observed this year on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The event began in Europe in 2004, and it’s now celebrated by over 150 countries around the world. Organized by the Insafe/INHOPE network, SID promotes the goal of making the use of digital technology a safe and positive experience, especially for children. We all can play our part.

Promote the Positive

As an extension of who you are in person, everyone should take ownership of how they interact digitally. Navigate the internet with kindness and respect for others in order to make a positive online impact. You've heard it before, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Become a Digital Role Model

Parents and caretakers should be aware their children look up to them as digital role models. Empower kids to use the internet in a responsible manner, including when they are gaming online, and create an environment in which kids can feel safe talking about their online activities or concerns, such as bullying.

Speak Up

It’s easy for both adults and kids to hide behind the keyboard and ignore potentially harmful online behavior. Report illegal content, inappropriate actions or concerning comments — and encourage others to do the same. Online videogames in particular are a prominent platform in which abusive communications can be made, and unsolicited contact initiated by unknown parties. The stranger of yore offering candy could today be offering free digital "candy" such as V-bucks. Encourage your kids to approach you with anything online that they may find confusing, inappropriate, and unkind, while always being open to having them share with you that which they enjoy the most online.

Create Change

It’s vital to help children develop their critical thinking skills so they are better able to safely navigate the digital world with supervision. While it is often tempting to just let your kids be while you attend to the many other responsibilities of a parent/adult, be present and actively involved in their online activities through vigilance and supervision. When creating content for online platforms teach them to create content that is respectful to others and adds to the online conversation in a healthy and constructive way. Humor is a manner in which kids often express themselves - better for it to be positive and not at the expense of someone else.

Avoid the Negative

Kids should be involved in building a better online world for everyone. Remind them to stay away from negative interactions, forums, threads and questionable content. Adults should also let children know that it’s important for them to protect not only their online reputation, but also those of others. Also, if too much negativity starts to take over, go offline and have your family experience a digital detox, as a mother of three recently imposed on her family after too much online gaming led to constant bickering, moodiness and misbehavior.

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