The internet can be a challenging place to navigate for parents and their children. Only 46% of Australian parents feel confident about dealing with online risks to their children. In New Zealand, 1 in 5 teenagers were harmed by something they experienced online. While these statistics may sound alarming, today is an excellent opportunity to educate ourselves and our children about online safety through supportive, open conversations.
Today is Safer Internet Day 2021; a global event celebrated in 170 countries worldwide. Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of online challenges, from cyberbullying, to social networking, to digital identity.
Every year there is a different theme for the event. The theme for 2021 is “together for a better internet” – which calls upon us all to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for everyone, especially children.
Join us this Safer Internet Day and follow these steps to protect yourself and your family online:
Protect your personal details
Ensure you have different passwords for your online accounts. If you find remembering passwords too tricky, consider a password manager. Check your privacy settings on your social media accounts, apps and devices, and make them more secure if necessary.
Take a look at your social media profiles
Be aware of what you post online and whether it may put you in harm’s way, be used against you in the future or affect your reputation. Think twice about what you post.
Don’t believe everything you see online
We consume so much information online, and it can be challenging to work out credible sources. Put your critical thinking cap on and ask yourself: Is this a reliable news source? Are these “facts” real? Could this be a hoax? Not everything you read online is right, so ensure you take the time to review your news sources and learn to separate the fake news from real news.
Keep a watchful eye out for scams
Many scams are circulating out there. Remember: do not click on unknown links, give out your personal details to unknown parties, or send money to anyone making a sudden, urgent request.
Be an upstanding online citizen
Remember to be kind, tolerant and respectful of others online. Look out for others and report any abuse if you come across it.
Assist others with their online experience
Help others to be safe online, especially non-tech-savvy family and friends. Have non-judgemental conversations with teenagers and younger children about what they do online and how to minimise the damage if things go wrong.
Start the conversation and continue to build your family’s digital skills for a safer online experience. We all play a part in creating a safer internet in 2021.
More information on Safer Internet Day 2021 can be found here.