February 5 marks Safer Internet Day, when people of all ages come together globally with the aim of making the internet a better place. Now in its 10th year, the theme for 2019 is: Our Internet, Our Choices, Understanding Consent in the Digital World.
Schools, charities, youth groups and police services will all be taking part in activities to encourage the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology and exploring ways people can work together to make the internet a better place.
Safer Internet Day is organised by the Safer Internet Centre and backed by Internet Matters, an e-safety organisation supported by BT.
Tips to keep kids safe online
Children face online dangers that didn’t exist when many of today’s parents were younger. Safer Internet Day encourages the safe and responsible use of digital technology. Here are some tips parent and grandparents can follow to keep children safe online.
Tip 1: Talk to your children
While it’s really important to ensure devices are set up correctly, it’s just as important to talk to your children about dangers they might face online, such as strangers, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.
Let them know what they post online could have negative consequences in the future which may affect their online reputation.
Instead of leaving them alone with their tablet or smartphone, encourage they to talk about what they do online and let them know they can discuss any issues with you.
For more age-specific advice, Internet Matters has a series of comprehensive e-safety guides for children aged 0-14 and above.
Tip 2: Check privacy settings
Social Networks such as Facebook and Snapchat are incredibly popular with children, but online grooming, cyberbullying and inappropriate content are just a few of the risks children face.
Make sure privacy settings are activated and encourage your children not to share personal information, and be aware of oversharing. Check out Internet Matters’ advice on keeping children safe on social networks.
The free ‘Internet Matters’ e-safety app uses quizzes and games to encourage parents and children together to discuss e-safety issues.
Tip 3: Encourage children to be good digital citizens
The online world might be virtual, but behaviour online in chatrooms, via messaging apps and on social networks, can have just as much impact as interaction in a physical world. Urge your child to treat others as they want to be treated, not to make fun of people online and remember the golden rule: if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
Tip 4: Set up Parental Controls
If your child has an internet-connected device, they will be able to access unsuitable content online, but you can prevent this using Parental Controls, which are free to all BT Broadband customers.
Choose between Light, Moderate and Strict filters and unsuitable content will be blocked to any device that connects to your Home Hub. Choose specific websites to block and set times of day you want the controls to work.
Games consoles, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs have their own parental controls. Internet Matters has an interactive guide to help you find them.
How to get involved in Safer Internet Day
If you use social media such as Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat, it’s easy to get involved. Children, young people, adults, carers and teachers are being invited to make a pledge using the hashtags #OurInternetOurChoice and #SaferInternetDay2019