Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board are supporting Safer Internet Day 2016, which falls on Tuesday 9 February.
The theme for Safer Internet Day 2016 is 'Play your part for a better internet!' This theme covers the responsibility that all users have in making the internet a better place. Whether children and young people, parents and carers, educators or social care workers, or indeed industry decision-makers or politicians, everyone has a role to play.
In championing a better internet, the theme recognises the balance between empowering internet users to make the most of the positive opportunities offered online, while responding to, dealing with and moving past the negative online.
There are ways in which everybody can contribute to Safer Internet Day 2016:
· Children and young people can help to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online, and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online. They can help to respond to the negative by being ‘helpful bystanders’: supporting peers if they encounter issues online, taking a stand against cyberbullying, and reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find. Above all, children and young people should be encouraged to take their stand as digital citizens of the future – participating in debates on the future of the internet, and making their voices heard.
· Parents and carers can help to create a better internet by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues, seeking out positive opportunities to engage with their children online, and helping their children to find and use good quality digital resources. They can help to respond to the negative by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and by also reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.
· Educators and social care workers can help to create a better internet by equipping children and young people with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world, and giving them opportunities to use – and create – positive content online. They can help to respond to the negative by supporting young people if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the resilience, confidence and skills that young people need to navigate the internet safely.
Diana Fulbrook, Independent Chair of Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board said: "Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board is well aware of the part played by the internet in the abuse of children and young people and is concerned about the risks of this happening. E-safety is therefore vital in protecting them from potential harm whilst also benefitting from all the good things the internet provides. Working together to have a better internet and to raise awareness of the need to use it responsibly is an important way of safeguarding children and young people, and the Board fully supports the Safer Internet Day 2016 campaign as a way of achieving this."
Cllr John Campion, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families said: "With the role of the internet in people's lives growing more significant by the year, it is now more important than ever to ensure young people are safe online. Safer Internet Day is a fantastic way to champion a better internet, on which young people can benefit from every available opportunity while navigating the dangers and difficulties."
People can support Safer Internet Day in Worcestershire by encouraging young people and their carers to access the website South West Grid For Learning (http://swgfl.org.uk/) which provides a wide range of resources and information about e- safety for young people and their carers.
For more information about Safer Internet Day and the resources available to support it, visit http://www.saferinternet.org/
For information and links to Safer Internet Day materials, visit http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/